At a special meeting of the FAI National Council in Dublin on Friday evening the controversial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the FAI and Government was among the items discussed.

Although the details of the bailout have proved divisive, the delegates agreed to work within the terms of the agreement.

Roy Barrett, the Independent Chair of the FAI, conceded that there were a number of points in the MoU that people found difficult to accept, and that the requirement of six independent directors along with six elected directors from the various football constituencies was an emotive subject.

But by the end of the marathon meeting, he believed that some unity has been reached among the members and said that they will work within the terms of the agreement going forward.

Earlier, member of the FAI National Council and Ireland South MEP Mick Wallace said that Council members accepted that there needs to be change in the FAI, but warned that they can't give too much power away.

Ahead of the meeting, Mr Wallace said that the idea of putting independent people on the board of the FAI is good for governance and good for oversight.

"We can't go back to where we were," said the the former Wexford TD.

"But we want football people to run it. And having people of proven calibre on the board as well is actually not a bad idea, but you don't give them the majority.

"We don't want to be run by business people that don't feel passionate about the game. The idea of putting independents on any board is to try and improve good governance (and) to try and increase some oversight."

Wallace at Ferrycarrig Park, home of Wexford FC

Today's meeting of the FAI Council was requested by more than 20 of the 79 council members, and the agenda includes the make-up of the football and business committees and the future role of the council. 

However, it was preceded by a fractious 36 hours of claim and counter-claim between elected board members and the interim CEO Gary Owens and independent chairman Roy Barrett.

The divisions caused by governance reform within the upper echelons of the FAI were emphasised further this morning with the emergence of a solictor's letter sent by Council member Nixon Morton to all 12 members of the board.

The letter, seen by RTÉ Sport, states that the FAI board are acting in contravention of the association's own rules and threatens legal action if they do not convene the AGM before the end of this month.

The AGM was scheduled to take place in Galway in July, but was postponed due to Covid-19, with an EGM now planned for 31 August.

"The EGM which your Timeline Document proposed would take place on or before 31 August 2020 is proposed by you to approve (a) a 'new organisational structure' and (b) approve the extension of your own term of office," reads Morton's solicitor's letter, which also claims the EGM is scheduled to ensure the reappointment of the existing board.

"All of the governance reforms will, according to your proposal, be dealt with at later EGMs in December 2020 and April 2021. It is perfectly clear that your vague proposal to defer the AGM and replace it with an EGM is a stratagem designed purely to avoid the automatic consequences of your ceasing to be directors under FAI Rule 22.2 and to ensure, so far as you can, your own re-appointment."

FAI President Gerry McAnaney

Meanwhile, Dublin Council delegates were lobbied by FAI staff who were concerned about what they called the impasse between the Government, members of the FAI board and members of the National Council.

FAI SIPTU staff member Harry McCue said workers at Abbotstown and around the country are very concerned for their future employment in the Association.

The Horan Governance review and the Memorandum of Understanding between the FAI and Government restored staff confidence. 

SIPTU representatives met with the Minister in January and were guaranteed there would be no compulsory redundancies according to McCue.

FAI SIPTU staff feel enough is enough and are asking all sides to work together in the interest of the game and the players.