Schoolboys Football Association of Ireland chairman John Earley has resigned from the FAI board with immediate effect.

Earley stated that his decision to depart was in the best interest of the domestic game in a resignation letter tendered to outgoing FAI President Donal Conway.

The letter read: "In the interests of facilitating a new beginning for the Football Association of Ireland, and ensuring that funding, particularly at grassroots level, is restored at the earliest opportunity, I wish to tender my resignation from the board of the Football Association of Ireland with immediate effect.

"My priority is the refinancing of the association and rebuilding of public trust.

"It is the government's desire to remove all members of the previous board as a pre-requisite to both objectives."

Elected to the post in 2015, the SFAI chairman's resignation was widely anticipated due to his presence on the board during former chief executive John Delaney's tenure.

Earley initially resigned from the board in June, due to perceived failures of the governing body in relation to the schools game on these shores.

However, he was back at the helm one month later after seeking and obtaining re-election at the FAI’s AGM.

Earley, along with Conway and FAI executive lead Paul Cooke, faced the media at a briefing in Abbotstown last Friday to present the association’s financial accounts for 2018.

The revelation that the governing body had current net liabilities in excess of €55m and the news that auditors Deloitte were unable to guarantee that the body could continue as a going concern meant the remaining board members were likely to face intense scrutiny with regard to their futures.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross described the association as a "basket case" on Thursday's edition of Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1, and told listeners that a "total clean out" was required.

John Earley resignation letter 

Dear Donal, 

In the interests of facilitating a new beginning for the Football Association of Ireland, and ensuring that funding, particularly at grassroots level, is restored at the earliest opportunity, I wish to tender my resignation from the board of the Football Association of Ireland with immediate effect.

My priority is the refinancing of the association and rebuilding of public trust.

It is the government's desire to remove all members of the previous board as a pre-requisite to both objectives.

As you are aware, I was first elected to the board of the FAI in 2015 and, with exception of a short hiatus earlier this year, have served since.

When I was elected, at the behest of the Schoolboy Football Association of Ireland (SFAI), I believed that as their nominee I was there to protect the interests of schoolboy football, along with my other board duties. 
 
Throughout my tenure on the board, I voiced the opinions of the SFAI and ensured that the schoolboy game continued to flourish in this country.

I naively believed and was reassured that the relevant professional departments would ensure that the financial aspects of the association were run in an orderly and professional manner.

This was clearly not the case and it has become apparent, particularly over the last week that the result of that collective failure has been catastrophic.
 
For clarity, I would like to point out that when elected to the board of the Football Association of Ireland, I immediately questioned the correct recording of finances relating to the association and the minuted records will testify to that.

I was not on the board when the remuneration committee agreed on the additional employment contracts in 2014 and therefore was not aware of them.

In March of this year, the remuneration committee again agreed on a new contract and I questioned why this did not have board approval.  

That said, I am not seeking to absolve myself of blame. As a board member for the last four years, I take ownership of my part in the collective responsibility for what has transpired.
 
In over 20 years of volunteering in schoolboy football, I have only ever worked for the betterment of the game and I hope to continue in that vein outside of the FAI board.

I now offer my resignation from the board with immediate effect. I would like to extend my best wishes to the remaining board members for the challenges that lie ahead. 
 
Yours in sport, 
John Earley