Press Release

SIPTU members in FAI raise concerns regarding strategy and working practices

Date Released: 18 February 2022

SIPTU members employed by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) have written to senior management to express their concerns regarding strategy and work practices at the sporting organisation.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Michelle Quinn, said: “SIPTU members employed in the FAI have written to both the chairperson, Roy Barrett, and CEO, Jonathan Hill, asking for an urgent meeting. At this meeting they wish to discuss the lack of engagement with them regarding the launch of a new strategy for the organisation and ongoing concerns about poor work practices. 

“In late 2021, the FAI CEO, Jonathan Hill, committed to taking part in such a meeting during the first three months of 2022. However, we await confirmation of any scheduled date for these discussions to begin.

“While our members in the FAI welcome the publication of a strategy for the organisation, they are concerned that much of it is aspirational and lacking in detail. They also have concerns that it does not have a clear enough focus on player development. SIPTU members in the FAI issued a 10 point plan on the development of football in Ireland in early 2021 entitled ‘Towards 25’. Unfortunately, there was very little discussion of this document within the organisation.

“The ‘Towards 25’ plan included the establishment of a national residential football academy for boys and girls as well as the holding of a national stakeholder convention involving representatives of school age leagues, grassroots teams and League of Ireland clubs.

“The plan also envisaged the creation of an all-island competition, soccer specific performance schools, the creation of five-aside FUTSAL leagues, a drive to deliver programmes in schools, major expansion of player development courses and the creation of a full-time player welfare manager to restore duty of care to players in this country and abroad. 

“It is now 14 months since the FAI CEO met with FAI SIPTU shop stewards, despite numerous requests for a meeting.”

She added: “With the impact of Brexit on football in Ireland, resulting in less young players joining clubs in the UK, it is essential that player development becomes a central focus of the FAI. This must involve greater interaction between school age clubs, League of Ireland clubs and the FAI towards the common goal of improving the domestic game.”

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