The upturn in fortunes at the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) could provide lessons for the embattled Football Association of Ireland, according to OFI CEO Peter Sherrard.
Resignations have followed and independent investigations are in place to form a clear picture of the financial state of soccer’s governing body.
Less than three years ago, the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) was engulfed in controversy around ticketing allocation for the 2016 Rio Games. The fallout saw the then OCI president Pat Hickey arrested, and though he denied any wrongdoing, temporarily stepped aside from his role.
The board however agreed to a change of leadership the following year, with Sarah Keane becoming the first female president, while in 2018 the governing body was rebranded as the Olympic Federation of Ireland.
"It’s been through a very, very tough time and now it needs to move forward. It needs to put the athletes first," Keane said at the time.
Speaking today as global job site Indeed announced its official partnership with the Irish Olympic team, Sherrard was asked if there are similarities between the FAI’s situation to the one the OFI found itself in recently.
"Potentially," he told RTÉ Sport.
"Everybody’s sporting body is different. Sarah Keane, and the work the Olympic Federation have done in very difficult circumstances, has been hugely important in putting the focus back on the athletes, where it should be."
"Clearly there are issues that need to be addressed"
Having previously worked a number of roles within the FAI, including Operations Director, Sherrard has sympathy for the coaches whose jobs are at risk in the current uncertain climate.
"It’s obviously a very difficult situation. Clearly there are issues that need to be addressed.
"The sooner that they do that the better for everybody, particularly those involved in grass roots football."
Sherrard was speaking as Indeed announced its partnership to support Irish athletes on the journey to qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Natalya Coyle has represented Ireland in the last two Olympic Games in the modern day pentathlon and insists the partnership is about more than simply the financial investment.
"They are going to work really well for athlete welfare, helping us get jobs, internships, so it’s really good to have a company like that on board with Team Ireland," she said.
On the sporting front, Coyle admits there's a "hectic" year ahead as she bids to take her place at Tokyo 2020.
First up is an Olympic test event in the Japanese capital and an intensive training camp beforehand, before she focuses all her attention on European qualifications in August where the top eight performers automatically qualify for 2020.
Failure to qualify at the Europeans is far from the end of the road however. The remaining places will be filled according to world rankings, which means 2019 would be a gruelling schedule of events, but that is how Coyle sealed her place in London and Rio.
Now however, it’s all about the Europeans at the University of Bath.
"You kind of can’t start talking about the Olympics until you have got qualification, sometimes that’s nearly harder than the competition on the day," said Coyle.