The UEFA citation read: “The FAI’s new constitution and extensive programme of structural reform was crucial in modernising the organisation, rebuilding stakeholder trust and ensuring it can thrive in the future. By engaging with stakeholders, including UEFA and the UEFA Grow team throughout the process, the FAI has shown that great change can be achieved in a short period of time.”
The Belgian and Russian Football Federations were also nominated in the Organisational Development Project category. The award was accepted on behalf of the FAI by Portuguese legend and UEFA ambassador Luis Figo at a virtual event broadcast from Geneva.
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Congratulating all at the FAI working on this project, FAI CEO Jonathan Hill said: “I am really pleased for everyone involved in this ongoing process of organisational change within Irish football. There are way too many to people to thank for the many hours of hard work committed to helping us become the progressive, modern fit-for-purpose Association everyone wants us to be.
“Governance reform is a gradual process and having a strong governance core is critical to future success, not just for us at national level but for the whole of our affiliate infrastructure. Thanks to UEFA for recognising the work done here and to all of the Irish football community and our stakeholders in making this happen.”
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As well as saluting the hard work of the 16 winners, the Grow Awards also provides a Europe-wide platform for sharing best-practice models and strategic initiatives from across UEFA’s 55 member national associations. In 2021, UEFA received 150 applications from projects and programmes in a record 43 associations across the eight award categories, which were whittled down to 24 nominations, with creativity and innovation awards also rewarding new thinking that could bring game-changing results in the future.
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In a message to the FAI and all UEFA Grow Award winners, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said: “Dear member associations, it’s a great pleasure for me to connect with you on the occasion of the 2021 UEFA Grow Awards and it’s truly remarkable that we received a record number of projects – 150 in total during a time when the world, sport and football, has had to deal with serious and unprecedented challenges.
“Your commitment to keep growing football, both on and off the pitch, and to engage with football as a special tool for social development is a source of great pride for UEFA. These prestigious Awards are a way for us to thank you and to recognise the invaluable work you are doing. Much of your work is behind the scenes but it makes an important difference every day, leading to more effective business, more impactful programmes and more sustainable national associations.
“I take this opportunity to thank you for all your efforts and I sincerely congratulate the winners in the eight categories.”



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Introduction:
The Football Association of Ireland’s ongoing governance reform programme has been honoured by UEFA at its UEFA Grow Awards which recognise national football association achievements in eight areas of strategic development with the FAI winning in the Organisational Development Project category.




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