Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 17 July 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport
Governance Review Group Report for the FAI Board and Sport Ireland: Sport Ireland
Mr. Aidan Horan:
The group acknowledged the challenge and hill to be climbed to achieve a gender balance. FIFA and UEFA talk about representative democracy in society, gender balance on state boards and so on. In a way, we are saying that within one year, we will attempt to achieve 33.3% on the board and that within three years, there will be a gender balance on the councils and at AGMs. There is much effort being done throughout the structures of UEFA and FIFA to build female leadership capacity and to get people to step into the roles. A programme of work will be required to get people to come forward for the roles. Throughout the country, the governance roadshows are predominantly male, which is not surprising.
The timeline is a target, although it is probably more than that because change is required. In view of the success of the women's team, the Women's World Cup and so on, it is clear that for representative democracy in the sport, it has to move towards a greater gender balance. While I concede that, currently, only two of the 58 members are female, the addition to the council of eight representatives of the women's league team, as per the recommendations, should give an injection to the council membership above the two who are in place. The target has to be supported by initiatives at FAI level to grow people and embrace a greater gender balance.