The Football Association of Ireland has confirmed the appointment of Marc Canham as its director of football, essentially succeeding Ruud Dokter who left his position at the end of 2021 after eight years in the role.
Dokter's title had been high performance director and while Canham’s role is a new one, it is expected that he will cover a lot of the same ground as Dokter.
Canham will work with FAI staff and all stakeholders in setting, driving and delivering the association’s overall football, technical and development strategies in support of transformational change in Irish football.
Canham will join the association from 1 August from his current role as director of coaching with the Premier League in his native England.
A UEFA Pro Licence coach and qualified technical director, he was instrumental in the implementation of the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan which has led to an increase in the number and quality of home-grown players playing in the Premier League and seen the progression of young home-grown coaches at academy and first team level.
"I am really excited to take up this opportunity to work in partnership with everyone in Irish football to build on the excellent work by so many to date and to realise the FAI’s onward vision for the future of the game," said Canham.
"Collaboration and teamwork are the key values of how I work and operate. I look forward to working closely with everyone within the Irish game, from grassroots to collaborating with our international managers as we bring the FAI’s Strategy 2022-2025 to life and change football for the better for every man, woman, boy and girl who plays our game.
"With the right commitment to an open and consultative approach, together we can deliver on the strategy in a positive and transformational manner.
"I am, along with my family, thrilled to be moving to Ireland. Having Irish grandparents, I have always followed the fortunes of the Republic of Ireland international teams. I hope we can work collectively to bring many more exciting memories for all and to use football to inspire the nation and connect communities."
Reporting to FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill and a key member of the FAI's senior leadership team, Canham will also review, set and deliver key technical and football development strategies in consultation with the key stakeholders within Irish football as per the overarching player-centric football development strategy that is a key part of the FAI’s 2022-2025 strategy and vision.
He will also develop and lead the new strategic direction of the FAI across Football for Women and Girls, one of the core pillars of the FAI’s Strategic Plan.
In his new role, Canham will also provide leadership, input and oversight of all aspects of Irish football including the wider issue of alignment of playing seasons, competition and league structures to include a review of what a revised Irish football 'pyramid’ could look like in the future.
"The appointment of Marc Canham to our new director of football role is a really progressive decision and one we are very excited by," said Hill. "Marc offers real experience in delivering change across complex football structures and stakeholders and we look forward to his leading such a process here as envisaged in our FAI Strategy 2022-2025.
"I trust his dynamic and all-inclusive approach will deliver across all levels of our game, proactively addressing both opportunities and challenges within the Irish game itself and I look forward to welcoming him to the FAI in August."
The FAI has also announced the appointment of John Morling to a senior football consultant role.
A former manager of the Republic of Ireland U15, U16 and U17 men’s teams and player development manager with the FAI, Morling was most recently employed as academy manager at Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion, a role he held for almost ten years.