Irish international Stephanie Roche has outlined her disappointment at the FAI’s potential misuse of funds during a time when women’s football and the domestic game required support.
The association has come under intense scrutiny over the last number of weeks following the Sunday Times’ breaking of a story surrounding John Delaney’s €100,000 bridging loan which was given to the FAI in April of 2017.
A plethora of reports, statements and Oireachtas committees followed, as the former Chief Executive stepped away from his role, with the FAI’s board also expected to do the same over the coming months.
Stories also emerged, which highlighted Delaney’s spending, revealing that he had spent over €40,000 on the FAI’s credit card in just six months back in 2016.
€40,000 which would have made a serious difference to the women’s game in the country for example, at a time when the national team were sharing tracksuits and changing in toilets.
In April 2017, shortly after Delaney’s spending spree and the same month as his bridging loan, 13 of the Irish women’s team spoke out against the appalling conditions in which they were forced to operate in.
Striker Stephanie Roche was one of those players and spoke to Pundit Arena, outlining that it was disappointing that the FAI’s money was potentially misused when investment was sorely needed elsewhere, but explaining that the most important thing now for the organisation is a “clean slate.”
“I think with the strike and everything else that went with it, it was something that we said at the time we didn’t want to make public we wanted to do it all behind closed doors.
“Now with different things that have come out with the FAI it’s clear to see that certain things haven’t been going right and I think from a footballer’s perspective for myself I think a clean slate might be what’s needed for everyone at this stage, a new plan for football in the country I think is what everyone needs.
“You can talk about the money and where it’s gone and it is disappointing that if the money was disused while, not even just women’s football but the League of Ireland wasn’t getting the investment that it needed and grassroots football is obviously in need of investment too so you can talk about that all you want but at this stage I think it’s a case of looking to the future and trying to decide what’s best for football in Ireland.”
A clean slate is a sentiment that has been echoed by many in Irish football. A new board with a more diverse level of representation could be vital in the organisations rebuild going forward.
Roche feels that getting people involved who have the right ideas and know how to implement them is key to a new era within the FAI.
“I think obviously a lot of people talk about female representation on these government bodies in terms of the FAI and stuff but from my point of view, I just want the right people to be in the job who want what’s right for football.
“It’s not just women’s football obviously it affects me being a female player but I think the League of Ireland has got a lot that’s needed as well so I think the people that are getting the job whether it be male or female they’ve got to have the right ideas and know how to implement them.”
Londis ambassador Stephanie Roche was on hand today to help the retailer announce its sponsorship of HELL & BACK for the third year
This year, Londis will add a new charity element to the challenge in aid of Pieta House. In the lead up to, and during the HELL & BACK event, Londis will raise funds for charity partner Pieta House. HELL & BACK is open to everyone and the first of the series will take place on the 15th and 16th of June. Londis will reward participants at the finish line in their Little Piece of Heaven. In Heaven, participants will be given some TLC and lots of delicious refreshments to give them a much-needed energy boost, compliments of Londis.