April 18, 2021

Women’s game to be prioritised by new FAI chief

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The women’s game and regular tournament qualification are priorities for the Football Association of Ireland’s (FAI) new chief executive Jonathan Hill.

Hill, who took over from interim CEO Gary Owens in October, is tasked with developing the game at all levels in the Republic of Ireland and increasing participation.

Discussing his new role, Hill said: “I am certainly here for the long term. Where would I see my legacy? Well, ideally I would like all of our national teams – both male and female – to be qualifying for major tournaments.

“Obviously I would like the organisation to be financially sustainable, which I think is important given where we have come from.

Katie McCabe (left) celebrates scoring her side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Women's Euro 2021 Qualifying Group I match at the Tallaght Stadium, Dublin, Ireland.
Image: Hill wants to grow the women’s game in the Republic of Ireland and see the team qualify for tournaments

“I would love to see more women and girls football being played in Ireland and that’s a real objective and priority for myself and for the organisation.

“I would like more people playing the sport full stop. That is the core role of any football association, to encourage participation and you want to do that in the best possible facilities and in the safest environments.”

Hill inherits a challenging situation amid the coronavirus pandemic but is confident the FAI and Irish football can look forward to a brighter future.

Image: Growth at all levels is a priority for the FAI

“In creating those environments, I would like to think that we would be working within Irish football as one whole, all looking towards that objective, and all the different parts of the game coming together to improve Irish football,” Hill said.

“I have to be honest and say that all of the conversations that I have had thus far, and I have had many, from all sides of the game, from all of our stakeholders – and I think most importantly from the Irish people themselves and from that football community – they want to see a successful FAI and they want to see successful Irish football.”