Minister for Sport Shane Ross has strongly criticised the decision of FAI President Donal Conway to proceed with a re-election bid, saying he wanted a "clean sweep" at the top of the association.

Mr Conway yesterday said he will be seeking re-election at next week's AGM despite an appeal from the minister for him to withdraw from the process.

Mr Conway also said the FAI AGM will go ahead next Saturday after delegates at the EGM voted for rule changes following a governance review at the association.

Mr Ross said the changes voted on at last night's EGM were a welcome first step, but they were far from the root-and-branch reform required. 

Mr Ross denied that the Government was interfering with the operation of the FAI.

FIFA and UEFA have expressed concerns about third-party interference in the association.

The minister said he wanted to talk to the soccer governing bodies to clarify what he described as a "misunderstanding", but said that the Government does want to ensure there is good governance at the FAI.

He said "we don't interfere with the internal workings of the FAI but we do insist that where our money is going, that it goes into a proper place and it’s being properly looked after".

He added that the Government would not reinstate funding to the FAI until they were "absolutely sure" that taxpayers’ money was being used properly and that the FAI is "fully accountable".

He said he was disappointed with Mr Conway’s decision because the Government is determined to have a complete break with the past, particularly in the wake of the appointment of what he called an "FAI loyalist" as general manager of the association.

Mr Ross said he believed the FAI would be fit for purpose "if we get our way and if we make sure that the interest of others, not just those at the top are looked after".