FAI appoints chairs to key Committees

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FAI appoints chairs to key Committees

Football Association of Ireland chairperson Roy Barrett has today written to General Assembly members announcing the appointment and confirmation of the Chairs of key Board Football and Business Committees, including the Independent Chairpersons of the Women’s Football Strategic Committee and the National Leagues Committee.
20th Jul 2021

A consultant with UEFA and other leading sports organisations, Sally Horrox will chair the new Women’s Football Strategic Committee while former Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern will chair the National Leagues Committee. Packie Bonner will chair the International and High Performance Committee with John Finnegan (Amateur & Youth) and Tom Browne (Underage) appointed as Chairs of the other Football Committees.

Newly elected FAI Board member Gary Twohig will chair the Commercial Committee with Liz Joyce (Executive Performance and Remuneration), Catherine Guy (Governance), Gerry McAnaney (Nominations) and Robert Watt (Audit, Risk, Compliance and Finance) also confirmed as Chairs of Business Committees.

FAI Chairperson Barrett told General Assembly members: “As you know, our new governance structures provide that the Board will be supported by the following Committees which will be made up of Directors, nominees of the General Assembly and/or various affiliates of the Association, and external members selected to bring particular skills or experience to the Committees’ work. In the case of two Committees – the National Leagues Committee and Women’s Football Strategic Committee – the Board decided in consultation with Members, to invite applications from people independent of the Association to chair these Committees.

“Sally Horrox will chair the Women’s Football Strategic Committee. An experienced advisor in the sports arena and Joint Managing Partner of Y Sport, an international consultancy with clients such as UEFA, The FA and The Italian Football Federation, she has worked with UEFA in several countries across Europe and, most notably, led the commercial and professional development of The FA Women’s Super League in England. Other recent projects include supporting Italy with its plan to grow the girls’ game and transition the Women’s Serie A League to professional status. Sally has a deep knowledge and understanding of women’s football and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead of us in Ireland. Sally is originally a lawyer by profession and lives near Bristol.

“Dermot Ahern will chair the National Leagues Committee which will have responsibility for running both the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland and the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League.  Dermot was a TD from 1997-2011 during which time he served as a Minister in six Government Departments and chaired the British Irish Inter Parliamentary Body. In these roles, he had extensive experience at European Council level, was heavily involved in negotiations leading to the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements, and participated in political party negotiations on a number of occasions leading to the formation of a number of coalition governments. Dermot is steeped in football and in the history of Rock Celtic in particular, the Dundalk club which he played for, managed and was a long serving committee member of.

“Sally and Dermot, along with our other Committee Chairpersons, bring a wealth of experience to the Association and I know you will join with me in wishing them all every success in their roles.”

Newly appointed Women’s Football Strategic Committee Chairperson Sally Horrox said: “I am proud to accept this key role with the Association as we work together to grow and develop women’s football in Ireland for all. We will work with the whole football family - the girls and women that want to play, the coaches, clubs, fans and all other stakeholders that want to support and get involved in this great game. The potential to grow women’s football at all levels in Ireland is huge and I look forward to the challenge ahead, with confidence that my experience in football and women’s sport will make a real difference.”

Incoming National Leagues Committee Chairperson Dermot Ahern commented: “I am delighted to take up this role, particularly given my own football background. If it wasn’t for football and campaigning on behalf of the fledgling Rock Celtic all those years ago, it is fair to say I would never have entered politics so this appointment feels absolutely right for me. As a passionate League of Ireland supporter, I am excited by the potential of the League and the Women’s National League as our committee continues to support professional and elite level football in Ireland. I am excited by this role and look forward to working with all the League of Ireland and Women’s National League clubs to develop and improve our Leagues for all involved, on and off the pitch.”

Welcoming the appointments, FAI President Gerry McAnaney said: “As Chairperson of the Nominations Committee I can confirm that all these roles attracted huge interest. We are delighted with the appointment of Sally and Dermot to the Women’s Football Strategic Committee chair and National Leagues Committee chair respectively. Their CVs speak for themselves and as a Board, we look forward to working with them and all our committee chairs as we continue to develop and improve Irish football.” 

FAI Chief Executive Jonathan Hill commented: “On behalf of all the staff I want to wish Sally, Dermot and all our chairs the very best of luck with their roles. I can promise all our committees that the staff and the Association will support them to the very best of our ability for the betterment of our game. I know the experience offered by the chairs of all 10 Committees, Football and Business, will really benefit the Association and all our stakeholders.”  

Football Committees 

International and High Performance
Packie Bonner

National Leagues 
Dermot Ahern

Amateur & Youth
John Finnegan

Tom Browne

Women’s Football Strategic 
Sally Horrox

Business Committees

Gary Twohig

Exec. Performance and Remuneration Committee
Liz Joyce

Governance Committee
Catherine Guy

Gerry McAnaney

Audit, Risk, Compliance and Finance
Robert Watt

The Board of the FAI will shortly seek nominations from Members and from the General Assembly respectively to the various Committees. As with Directors, all candidates for Committees will be required to meet eligibility criteria and to complete an integrity assessment which will be conducted by the Electoral Committee in accordance with the Electoral Code.

For more information contact FAI Director of PR and Communications Cathal Dervan by email, cathal.dervan@fai.ie