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‘I would raze FAI HQ to the ground’ – Damien Duff says Irish football needs ‘total reset’

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Damien Duff has insisted that the FAI needs a full reset, starting by “razing Abbotstown to the ground”.

The headquarters of the association, a grey single-story building on the Sports Ireland campus in Dublin 15, was a premises Duff frequented during his brief spell as Stephen Kenny’s coach in 2020.

Duff was speaking at a press conference yesterday ahead of his League of Ireland side Shelbourne playing their first European match in 18 years, with the coach eagerly anticipating the Conference League clash against Gibraltar side St Joseph’s.

Asked if Irish football required a reset, he hesitated before unleashing his latest barb.

“I would raze Abbotstown to the ground because it’s the most uninviting, unenthusiastic workplace, not just in world football but in the world.

“The fact you’re laughing (at my comment) shows I’m not far off the f***ing mark. I used to dread going in there once a month (when he was assistant manager). So I’d level it.

Duff continued lambasting the football organisation, adding: “I would probably sack 90 per cent of the workforce. Can’t give you anything more powerful than that.”

The former Chelsea manager and Ireland international player also added his support to the women who have come out this week to outline the shameful culture that existed within the women’s national team in the 1990s, which was detailed in a RTE Prime Time Investigates programme.

Duff has been a vocal critic of the association and was appalled at what he and his wife Elaine watched in the RTÉ Investigates documentary last Sunday.

He described the former female players as ‘heroines’ for speaking out against about the culture at the heart of the organisation.

Duff said: “I watched the programme with my wife. Listen, I’m not going to get into it deep. All I will say is I probably gripped my children tighter since then.

“I’ve thought about the ladies, the women in the programme a lot since then, every day.

“They are absolute heroines for coming out and speaking. I thought there were some powerful people on the show, the women that is. Nobody else outside of that. But as for the association that involved and the men involved I’ve no comment on them. I’ll let somebody else judge them.”

“I would like to think that the association is in a wonderful, wonderful place now with regard to everything,” Duff said. “That’s football, finances and safeguarding, but here, there is always doubt when it comes to the FAI.”

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