FAI: Irish Government to consider proposal to split association in two

Irish Sport Minister Shane Ross
Sports Minister Shane Ross was reacting to a new proposal devised by FAI staff members

The Irish Minister for Sport has said the government will consider a proposal to split the Football Association of Ireland in two.

It has been reported that FAI staff have produced a plan for the state to fund a new organisation to run grassroots and community football.

The FAI would continue looking after the international teams and elite football.

Sports Minister Shane Ross told RTE that every proposal would be examined.

"Our interest is in football," he said on Thursday's Morning Ireland programme.

"I think any constructive ideas which come forward, and I think this is constructive, full of good people like Brian Kerr and Niall Quinn who are suggesting it, we'll look at any suggestion that comes through."

The plan suggests that the government would provide 10 million euro each year to fund development officers and coaches at youth level, while the FAI would fund itself through commercial deals.

Minister Ross, however, insisted that there would be no government bailout for the FAI after details of its financial crisis emerged last week.

The association revealed that it had liabilities of more than 55 million euro. By releasing its annual accounts, the governing body also showed that former chief executive John Delaney had been given a severance package of 462,000 euro.

"Nobody should look at this as the government coming in to bail out an organisation that is coming to us with a black hole, the extent of which we don't know," Ross added.

"We are not going to be giving them a blank cheque. We are going to protect the money we are already putting in, make sure the FAI don't get their hands on it in its present form and that it goes to grassroots.

"They are the people we are concerned about."