Never let a good crisis go to waste!

Never let a good crisis go to waste!.   The Governance Blueprint for the new Board of the Football Association of Ireland

In our last blog I looked at some of the considerations that need to be borne in mind in populating the new FAI board.

To recap, I suggested that the following considerations that should be borne in mind in constituting a new board and I have added a few more.

  • What leadership qualities are required of a new chair?
  • What should be the size of the Board?
  • What skills and experience apart from knowledge of the game be on it?
  • Should it have an independent chair?
  • Should there be NEDs on it?
  • How diverse and inclusive should the new board be?
  • What should the culture of the new board be?
  • How should the soccer community be represented on it?
  • What other stakeholders should be represented on it, if any?
  • What should be the terms for the new directors?
  • What should be the blend of local and international soccer expertise on it?
  • What Board Committees are required?
  • Should the CEO be on the Board?
  • What should be the term of the CEO?
  • Should the president be on the Board?
  • What should be the role the National Council? – Currently is it be responsible for monitoring the activities of the FAI and for monitoring the Board’s governance of the Association.

So here’s what we think!

President – This is an important role.  I suspect the President wants to be out an about representing the FAI around the country and internationally and not involved in the governance of the organisation at Board level.  The president could be a director or just be in attendance at the Board meetings to contribute where and when required.

Board Size – The board should be made up of no more than 10 – 12 people to ensure that it does not develop into a talking shop, is focused on governance, the work of the Board and can make timely decisions. Only the Board should be able to appoint members to Board Committees.

Chair – Would be totally independent with a demonstrated experience in chairing organisations of this scale and complexity with a strong professional, commercial and community ethos. His/ her term would shadow the term of the strategic plan for the FAI ideally for one to two terms

Board Committees -The following board committees should be established with the appropriate terms of reference which have been approved by the Board and are chaired by a member of the Board.

  • Finance
  • Governance and Nominations
  • Audit and Risk
  • Safeguarding
  • Football – there may need to be a number of committees here to cover all the various aspects of the game

Non-Executive Directors. – The Board should be composed of Non-Executive Directors with the following competencies and experience.

  • Finance – Experienced and qualified accountant(s) who are familiar with complex, geographically dispersed organisations like the FAI
  • Legal – Background in IP, commercial contracts, licensing, property etc
  • Governance – Background in corporate governance in commercial and sporting organisations
  • Commercial – Background in negotiating sponsorship deals, TV, streaming rights etc
  • Digital Marketing – To help promote the game and use the communication channels that are appropriate to the FAI’s footballing demographic
  • International Football – To bring their knowledge of how to run a national body and compete successfully on the international stage. This individual may come from another reputable national body
  • Former Professional player who has been successful playing professionally overseas with a strong commercial background
  • League of Ireland – who understands the League of Ireland in Ireland from grass roots up in Ireland with a strong focus on policy, strategy and development.
  • Amateur Game – who understands the Amateur Game – Senior Football and Underage Football
  • Women’s Game – who understand the game in Ireland from grass roots up in Ireland with a strong focus on policy, strategy and community

Terms – All NEDs would be appointed for an initial period of three years, which are renewable for another 3 years depending on performance. Nine year terms would be considered on a case by case basis. The initial appointments would need to be staggered so that all the terms do not all end at the same time.

Diversity – Needless to say this Board should reflect the diversity of the game in Ireland, not only in terms of gender, but also in terms of inclusion, ethnicity and LBGT.

CEO – The CEO would report to the Board, would not be a member of the Board and would not be on any Board committee but would be in attendance at board and committee meetings by invitation.

Next week we will look at the role of the National Council and how NEDs could be appointed to the Board in the future.

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