FAI presents outline Strategy to AGM as Accounts are adopted
The Football Association of Ireland today commenced the consultation process around the FAI’s draft strategic plan 2022-2025 with members of the newly constituted General Assembly at the FAI’s virtual AGM as the FAI accounts for 2020 were adopted.
Presenting online to delegates from the Association’s Abbotstown headquarters, CEO Jonathan Hill outlined the key elements that will enable the FAI to map out the future of the country’s biggest participation sport across all levels of the game.
In his outline strategy presentation, CEO Hill informed FAI AGM delegates that the Association’s vision for the future is to utilise football to inspire and unite the nation, grow participants to our game and deliver the best footballing experience for all.
Core objectives in the draft strategy document were:
- Driving Grassroots football as the heart of the game
- Creating football pathways for all
- Developing the full potential of football for Women and Girls
- Inspiring a new future for our League of Ireland
- Building for International success
- Transforming football facilities and infrastructure
The CEO also explained how the FAI will deliver on this draft strategy by:
- Building a best-in-class, fit-for-purpose organisation
- Embracing Digital Opportunity
- Building a Trusted and Respected brand
- Driving investment to achieve our Strategic Goals
- Developing a collaborative and inclusive culture
“The new draft strategy document for 2022-2025 will lay out the road map for a vibrant and transformed FAI that will deliver the very best foundations for the success of our game at all levels, from tournament qualification for our international teams to consistent European results for our Men’s and Women’s League of Ireland clubs and real growth in participation for our Grassroots adult amateur and underage Leagues,” said CEO Hill.
“All of this will enhance the enjoyment of our players and fans, coaches, officials and volunteers without whom we have no game. Central to the development of that strategy is communication across all strands of the game in Ireland and we will will consult widely in the next four months to understand our members’ perspectives and seek their agreement on the key issues to be addressed over the next four years which will shape our strategy. Our communication is now honest, open and collaborative with all stakeholders and this will be reflected in all discussions around the strategy which will become their strategy over the next four months.”
FAI President Gerry McAnaney: “This is a really exciting time for Irish football. Our Association is undergoing the governance and financial reform demanded by all stakeholders, our players are back on the pitch at all levels of Irish football and there is a real sense of positivity and hope amongst our members. We need now to deliver a strategy that matches that ambition with prosperity and I look forward to continuing meetings with our members all across Ireland in the coming months to deliver a strategy they can be proud of and one which will deliver for our game.”
Today’s AGM voted in favour of a motion to receive and consider the Director’s Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December 2020, along with the Independent Auditors’ Report thereon.
FAI Finance Director Alex O’Connell also reported to the meeting on the key points of the 2020 accounts including:
- A surplus of €1.6m was recorded for the financial year 2020, compared with a deficit of €5.1m for 2019.
- This surplus of €1.6m has improved the Association’s balance sheet position. However, the FAI remains in a net liability position of €4m.
- Thanks to support from Government and Sport Ireland, the FAI was able to avail of total COVID-19 Relief Funding of €13.2m, of which €8.2m has been included in turnover for 2020 to offset losses in income due to the pandemic.
- The FAI also received €5.8m in grant funding of football programmes from Sport Ireland in 2020, up from €1.4m in 2019, as part of the overall agreement with Government. From this the Association allocated €1.2m allocated to player development (up from €234,000 in 2019), €1.99m to grassroots football (up from €1.1m in 2019) and, for the first time, the League of Ireland, Women’s National League and Other Competitions were allocated €895,370 of this funding in 2020.
- Net current liabilities have fallen from €69.7m in 2019 to €13.03m in 2020, primarily due to the Association’s bank loan from Bank of Ireland being reclassed from a current liability to a non-current liability in 2020.
- The Association availed of vital loan financing from Bank of Ireland, the Irish Government and FIFA during 2020, with bank and other borrowings increasing from €42.9m in 2019 to €62.4m in 2020.
Finance Director O’Connell told the meeting: “We have made significant progress as an Association across 2020 and 2021. COVID-19 has presented enormous and unique challenges, however we are all focused on progressing through these challenges together and look forward to a brighter future for the Association, and football in Ireland.”
FAI Chairperson Roy Barrett remarked: “Financially the Association is in a better place but we remain prudent, conscious of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across all areas of our game. As an Association we have restored financial stability and we should look forward with confidence to the coming months as we discuss and develop the FAI Strategy 2022-2025 in consultation with all stakeholders.”