Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth has accused Minister of Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross of ‘political point scoring’ and believes that Irish football needs ‘strong people’ to shape its future.
Speaking on Wednesday, Minister Ross described the FAI’s recent appearance at the Oireachtas Committee as ‘shambolic’ and said that no new capital payments will be made to the governing body ‘until we receive credible answers’.
Mr Ross also heralded a statement from the FAI President Donal Conway that the current board would step down and remarked that: “We are now to see the beginning of the end of the old FAI. And that is something that I welcome.”
However, those comments didn’t sit well with the Lilywhites head coach. Writing in his programme notes ahead of the 3–0 win over Finn Harps on Friday night, Perth said that he ‘didn’t buy’ Mr Ross’ ‘grandstanding’ and asked if he was a person ‘we want to be involved in any restructure of the FAI’.
Speaking to Dundalk Sport after the game, Perth elaborated on those points.
“I just asked where Shane Ross has been for the past three or four years. He’s the Minister for Sport and Tourism but where has he been?
“He lives out in Bray. Has he ever supported Bray in terms of their ground? Has he ever demanded some funding for Bray? Where has he been?
“I’d have more respect if he was giving out about the FAI for the past two years but he’s been at every event and every FAI game and hasn’t complained.
“In fact, he actually said that he hasn’t heard any complaints. Well, there’s a chant that goes around every single League of Ireland football game so if he has been at them, he needs to get his hearing fixed!”
Turning his attention to the future of Irish football, Perth said that government assistance was needed to help improve facilities around the country.
“We need strong leadership,” he said. “We need strong people. We don’t need celebrity names. We need people who can make an impact on Irish football and the League of Ireland should be right in the middle.
“Let’s call a spade a spade, Oriel Park has been left behind because the last CEO didn’t have a lot of time for Dundalk FC for political reasons.
“It has been down over the last 15 to 20 years and Tolka Park has also been let go. It should be a focal point for Irish football with U19 and U21 games being played there.
“Tallaght Stadium is a credit to the local council there and, in fairness, Shamrock Rovers pushed it but we need more of that,” he added.
“These politicians should look at three or four thousand out of 40,000 coming out to support Dundalk. What does that do for the social aspects of the town? There are young lads in here tonight, they’re not on the street or up to trouble, they’re here supporting their local team.
“We need more of that. We need togetherness and we need people to fix Irish football. We don’t need grandstanding and fellas coming out with absolute horse shit, for want of a better word.”
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