FAI members vote to add two female directors, protecting Government funding

FAI members vote to add two female directors, protecting Government funding
Grace Fisher
Grace Fisher

A motion to expand the FAI board from 12 to 14 members in order to meet the gender balance guidelines set by Government passed at the organisation's Extraordinary General Meeting Saturday.

110 members voted for the proposal, which will add two female directors, and only six voted against.

The change protects €4.35 million in Government grants that would otherwise be at risk after the 2020 Memorandum of Understanding between the Government and the FAI that established a quota of 40% female representation by the end of this year, following the Sport Ireland directive.

A similar motion failed to pass at the EGM held in November, with only 66% of a required 75% voting in favour, but 95% approved the motion Saturday.


"Delegates voted to expand the Board from 12 to 14 members," read a statement from the FAI. "Seven Football Directors will be elected from the Football Chambers of the General Assembly, with at least one of the football directors to be Female. A further seven Independent directors will serve on the Board of the FAI, including a female director with a football background."

"The vote endorses the provision of measures to ensure a minimum of 40% of each gender on the Board, meaning at least six but not more than eight directors of each gender on the Board."

Outgoing President Gerry McAnaney commented:

"This is a very significant development for the Association and means that we will be in a position to achieve the 40% female director target set out in Government policy and specifically in the MOU as soon as we identify and appoint two additional female directors to the Board in January.


"While our focus in recent weeks has been on the details of the proposals and securing the support of Members, it would be easy to lose sight of the significance of this decision and the opportunity it presents to the Association to show leadership in the area of equality, diversity, and inclusion.

"It is fitting that this positive development should come about in the year in which our Women's National Team took part in their first World Cup and were promoted to Euro Nations League A and the year in which we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Irish women's participation in international football."

Others suggested that much more needs to change.

Former FAI board member Ursula Scully commented, "I am looking around the room and we are nowhere near the 40% target on the general assembly. I believe that failing lies firmly and equally with the FAI as an organisation."

"There has been no initiatives, none whatsoever, from the FAI to encourage women to get into the game at an administrative level. Absolutely none. We can bandy about the leadership programme from four years ago, when 30 people graduated, but we have done nothing for them. Absolutely nothing."

Members are now participating in the organisation's AGM.

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