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Roy Barrett strenuously denies...
Soccer

Roy Barrett strenuously denies 'conspiracy theories' over conflict of interest

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

21:56 31 Aug 2020

Roy Barrett, the FAI's independent chairman, has strongly refuted claims of a conflict of interest regarding his appointment to the FAI board.

Speaking to OTB Sports after the association's EGM, Barrett strenuously denied that a recommendation from Bank of Ireland chairman Patrick Kennedy on Barrett's appointment did not place the organisation in a difficult position to discuss their debts with the bank.

Reports last week related to claims by Cabinteely chairman Larry Bass, who alleged that Barrett had been recommended to the FAI as a potential candidate by Kennedy.

Roy Barrett on claims

Barrett told Nathan Murphy that these reports were wide of the mark.

"I only spoke to Patrick once, when I was approached by [executive search firm] Amrop," Barrett confirmed.

"I spoke with Amrop and they said that a number of people had recommended me, including Patrick. I talked to Patrick after that meeting for around two or three minutes, so that is what it was.

"I think quite a lot has been made of it, and there is a bit of a conspiracy theory around it, but there is nothing untoward about it, in my view. Certainly, in terms of my dealings with Bank of Ireland or any other of the  stakeholders.

"Did it represent any form of conflict whatsoever? No, it didn't."

Image

On whether he considered how communications with Kennedy could be viewed from the outside, Barrett was steadfast that there was nothing untoward transpiring, and he did his due diligence before taking the role of indepedent chairman.

"You have to remember that when I had that conversation [with Kennedy], I had only just been approached. What I had done when first approached by Amrop was say that I would think about the role.

"In thinking of it, I wanted to meet a number of people, including people from the FAI, from the accountants Grant Thornton, from the Deparmtent [of Sport], from the Ministers, from Sport Ireland and Mr Horan who did the governance reforms.

"[This was] to acquaint myself with all of the issues and make a decision as to whether I could help the organisation or not.

"In terms of did I think that meeting in any way compromised me - not at all."

Transparency

As to whether these concerns have overshadowed the FAI's drive to be seen as a transparent organisation, Barrett was forceful in saying he believes the organisation is different now to the previous regime.

"It is completely transparent. Amrop approached me on the basis of a number of recommendations, one of whom we now know. It is actually quite a normal way of doing business.

"I certainly don't think that it should cast a shadow, certainly in my own mind it doesn't cast a shadow. That's about it."

Barrett reiterated that he did not have any conversations with Kennedy during the FAI's debt renegotiations with Bank of Ireland.

"No. None at all. The only time I spoke with Patrick was recently when it was in the newspapers that the conversation that he and I would have had on Amrop approaching me.

"I hope [the members do not have concerns over the issue], I don't have anything to hide on it. It is what it is and perhaps, given the extent of the voting favour [...] this is a non-issue for them."

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