01 Dec 2021

FAI issue list of recommendations after meeting with Limerick District League and club reps

FAI issue list of recommendations after meeting with Limerick District League and club reps

Back in July of 2021, the FAI was contacted by member clubs of the Limerick District League (LDL) raising concerns with regards the running of the League.

As reported by the Limerick Leader, click here: The FAI wrote to the LDL in September confirming that the FAI was "aware of the issues and wished to meet with the LDL to discuss matters"

Following on from the postponement of the LDL AGM, the FAI asked to meet with four representatives from clubs who had signed the petition requesting the SGM and two representatives from clubs who had not signed the petition in order to ensure that a full picture was obtained.

The results of that meeting, now seen by the Limerick Leader, confirm that the LDL and the Clubs met with the FAI Delegation and the following conclusions were reached. 

Conclusion 1

There is a lack of clear communication from the LDL to clubs. Decisions are being made by the Committee however, they are not being effectively communicated to the clubs with a clear rationale for the decisions leading to frustration by the clubs.

Recommendation 1

The LDL should devise a communication strategy for communicating decisions to clubs in a clear, transparent and consistent manner. As part of that strategy there should be a reasonable time frame given for responding or providing clarifications to any questions raised by a club. All parties should agree that when issues arise they are dealt with through the proper channels and not through social media.

Conclusion 2

There is a lack of trust between the LDL and some clubs, with some clubs feeling that they are not being treated fairly by the LDL in accordance with the rules of the LDL.

Recommendation 2

That all rules of the LDL be applied on a consistent basis to all clubs. All parties should agree that when issues arise they are dealt with through the proper channels and not through social media.

Conclusion 3

The FAI did not carry out an investigation of the Leagues finances. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the FAI delegation were of the opinion that the Committee provided reasonable explanations for each query that had been raised by clubs. This was an area of significant concern at the first meeting and the second meeting and accordingly the FAI recommends an audit of accounts for 2020 be carried out in order to allay concerns.

Recommendation 3

The accounts for 2020 should be audited to provide assurance to the Members. Members should receive a copy of the
annual accounts at least 7 days in advance of the AGM so that they can review and ask any questions that may arise in relation to the accounts at the AGM. The Treasurer of the LDL should have financial experience. All payments received
should be logged in detail outlining where the payment has come from, what the purpose is and what date the funds were lodged to the league bank account and whether or not they formed part of a larger lodgement. The Members should be asked at the AGM to vote on a decision on whether or not all or certain members of the Committee should receive an annual Honorarium and if so what the amount of that Honorarium should be. This should be provided for in the rules and be a standing item on the agenda of each AGM.

Conclusion 4

The LDL rulebook is out of date and requires review and updating. For example it does not explain the governance structure within the LDL. It appears that the only requirement to meet with clubs and report on the work of the LDL is once per annum at the AGM or additionally, if required, at a special general meeting.

Recommendation 4

The LDL rulebook be updated to reflect an appropriate governance structure and in addition to the annual general meeting that two further meetings of club delegates are convened per annum, in advance of which the LDL Committee will circulate for review and discussion, an agreed format report on the LDL work and plans and will provide an update in relation to the league.

Conclusion 5

The LDL rulebook is difficult to navigate and does not follow a logical order

Recommendation 5

The FAI legal department will provide substantial assistance and support to facilitate the review and revision of the LDL rule book with the objective that the amended draft rule book should be presented to a Special General meeting to be voted upon by the members.

Conclusion 6

The Management Committee currently consists of 12 members, 6 of whom are officers. Currently, there are no female
members of the Committee

Recommendation 6

That the Committee consist of the following four officers: 1. Chairperson 2. Vice-Chairperson 3. Honorary Treasurer 4. Honorary Secretary

The remaining committee members will be: 5. Fixture secretary 6. Designated liaison person who will replace the child liaison officer in line with the FAI Child Welfare and Safeguarding Policy 7. Public relations officer with responsibility for developing, maintaining and updating a league website 8. Registrar responsible for registering players in line with FAI requirements 9. Referee Liaison Person 10. Ordinary Committee Member 11. Independent Committee Member 12. Independent Committee Member With the additional proviso that at least one of the last three committee members must be female.

At least two members of the Committee should be independent and have no affiliation to any club in the League. The Chairperson and Vice Chairperson once elected by the members cannot be affiliated or be a member of any club in the league and must carry out their duties in an impartial manner.

At least one of the independent member of the Committee should be female and in the event that no female nominee/ candidate is appointed that vacancy may not be filled by a male nominee.

The rules should also incorporate as an objective of the LDL , to increase female representation on the Committee over the next 3 years to 40% by 2026.

Recommendation 6.e: The independent [and female] Committee Members should be given designated roles and tasks based on the needs of the League. This could be for example Assistant Fixture Secretary and should be based on an assessment of requirements of the League done on an annual basis. No club shall have more than one representative on the Committee at any one time. This includes the Chair and/or the Vice Chair if they were previously a member of the Club

Conclusion 7

There are currently no term limits for members of the LDL Management Committee

Recommendation 7

Term limits should be imposed on committee membership. Any member who has been on the Management Committee for an aggregate period of 2 years (not necessarily on a continuous basis) shall be eligible for election as Chairperson or Vice Chairperson. It is noted that all save two members of the current Committee, both officers and ordinary members would meet this criterion. In addition, it is assumed that previous members of the Committee would also meet this requirement thus creating a sufficient pool of potential officers. Nobody other than those elected to the Management Committee shall be involved in the decision-making process of the LDL and all decisions of the League must be made by a quorate meeting of the Management Committee in accordance with the voting procedures specified in the updated rules.

Conclusion 8

The clubs when invited did not put forward members for election to the Management Committee therefore there are insufficient nominees to currently hold proper elections.

Recommendation 8

It is recommended that following a review of the rulebook and amendments to same, an election takes place at the next AGM to elect members to the Management Committee of the League.

Invitations should be sent to all clubs in advance to invite nominations to the committee and such invitation should include a nomination form which should be signed by the chairperson and the secretary of the club nominating the Committee member. The nomination form should also require the nominee to provide a CV outlining his or her football experience and any other experience relevant to the position for which they are being nominated. It is recommended that at a minimum that at least one member of the Committee would have one of the following skill sets: • Football administration • Financial experience -
Treasurer • IT knowledge – ability to update a website Any current Officer or Committee Member of the LDL if not re-elected should work with the new Committee member responsible for the same tasks for a minimum of 4 weeks to ensure a proper handover of documentation and processes occurs so that football within Limerick is not interrupted. As part of the update to the rules the procedures for the conduct of Committee meetings should be clearly explained. At Committee meetings the Chairperson shall have an original vote and in the case of a tie, a casting vote. The Chairperson shall chair the meetings of the Management Committee. In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson shall take the chair. In the absence of both the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson those Committee members in attendance shall chose one from their number to chair the meeting. A quorum for the transaction of business of the Management Committee shall be seven.

The Management Committee should meet as necessary but, no less than once every three weeks during the playing season. Such meetings may be virtual, by telephone or in person provided that a quorum is present and everyone can hear and participate in the meeting. No substitutions shall be permitted at Management Meetings. The Honorary Secretary shall be responsible for taking minutes of all Management Committee meetings and circulating same at least five days before the next meeting of the Management Committee

Conclusion 9

The League has no website therefore it is difficult to follow the fixtures and the league tables.

Recommendation 9

The League immediately start the process of identifying a company to build a website. A sub-committee of the Management Committee should be formed constituting people with IT knowledge, fixture knowledge and administration knowledge to instruct the company and ensure that the website once established is updated regularly. It is recommended that one member of the Management Committee be a member of this Committee. The remaining members of this sub-committee need not be members of the Management Committee but should have some IT knowledge and experience. A budget should be put aside for this purpose and an annual budget be assigned to maintaining the website and updating it. The website should contain: • Fixture Lists • League Tables • LDL Rules • Contact details for the Committee – this can be a generic email address which is monitored regularly.

Conclusion 10

From a league point of view it is difficult to transition teams from underage football to youth and put all teams in the right division. This has been highlighted as an issue for the LDL.

Recommendation 10

At the beginning of each season a three person sub-committee of the Management Committee consisting of at least one independent member shall meet and determine how the youth divisions are formulated. This will be done in a fair and transparent manner with clearly defined criteria. The results from the previous underage season may be taken into account but clubs should be invited to outline what players they may have lost from the previous season which may contribute to the decision making process. It is the responsibility of the clubs to respond to this request within the time frame given and decisions of the sub-committee should be final.

Conclusion 11

The LDL have an unwritten rule that no more than two teams can play on the same pitch and that an additional pitch is required should a club have more than two teams.

Recommendation 11

This is a barrier to participation and an unnecessary burden on clubs and should be removed. It is the responsibility of clubs to ensure that their pitches remain up to standard and are not overplayed to ensure that referees do not deem pitches unplayable.

According to the report: "The above recommendations shall be sent to the LDL Committee and all clubs for review and comment. Once all comments have been received and replied to and the rules finalised on the basis of the above recommendations and the comments received an SGM shall be held to consider and vote upon the proposed new rules of the LDL."

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