Minister Micheál Martin welcomes the appointment of Terry Conroy as new football welfare officer in Britain
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin T.D., and the Chief Executive of the Football Association of Ireland, Mr. John Delaney, have announced the appointment of Mr. Terry Conroy as the new welfare officer for young Irish footballers in Britain.
Funding for the post will be shared between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Football Association of Ireland and follows growing concern at the plight of young players who don’t succeed in the professional ranks.
Following a meeting with John Delaney and Terry Conroy in Dublin, the Minister said:
“Terry is uniquely placed to fill this important new position. As a distinguished former Irish international and with over 330 appearances for Stoke City, he has a very keen understanding of the challenges facing young players from Ireland when trying to establish soccer careers in Britain.
Terry will play a critical role in ensuring that the welfare needs of these young Irish footballers are met by providing ongoing guidance and support to them and their parents. He will also be working closely with clubs and relevant agencies to ensure players’ welfare and education needs are addressed”.
Minister Martin welcomed the fact that Mr. Conroy’s remit would also include older retired players who may have fallen on hard times.
Noting that of the 50 young Irish footballers who on average are contracted to play with British clubs each year, 85% subsequently are released by their clubs, the Minister remarked:
“Despite the perceived glamour of the life of professional footballers in Britain, – for every successful Irish star, many more do not make it. Terry’s appointment represents a very significant attempt by the Government and the FAI to address this need. His support and guidance will be invaluable to those young people who do not make it in the world of professional football”.
The Minister said he was delighted with the close relationship that has developed between his Department and the FAI over recent years. In addition to the additional consular resources deployed for each international match away from home, he said this initiative is a natural fit with the wider work of the Irish Abroad Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs. He pointed out that in 2008, the Government has provided over €10million to frontline Irish welfare and community groups in Britain. The Government's contribution this year to the position of welfare officer will be €50,000.
John Delaney, Chief Executive Officer of the Football Association of Ireland said:
“I thank Minister Micheál Martin for his commitment to this partnership between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the FAI. Terry Conroy’s depth of experience will make a marked improvement to the plight of many young Irish players who attempt to launch a professional career in Britain. As well as providing much needed guidance to the minority of young players who do make it, Terry will be vital in assisting the majority who do not by ensuring that their welfare and ongoing educational needs are prioritised.”
Player Welfare Officer Terry Conroy added, “I am looking forward to my new role with the FAI and intend using my experience from a lifetime in football to assist Irish players, past, present and future throughout Britain.”
28th November 2008.