Chief Finance Officer Conor Gibney and Finance Officer Michal Kazio have stepped down from their positions after over two years of volunteer service. Conor and Michal played critical roles in producing the first set of fully audited accounts – a requirement set by Sport Ireland due to an increase of funding. Furthermore, they developed a payment policy and introduced online banking which removed the need for cheques, streamlining our financial processes and improving transparency.
Commissioner Brian Cleary “It was a pleasure to work with both Conor and Michal over the last two years. Their hard work was invaluable to improving our financial governance which resulted in significant increases in our funding. They have been a true asset to the AFI and I would like to wish them the best of luck in their future endeavours.”
Interim President Aidan Maguire “On behalf of American Football Ireland, I want to take this opportunity to offer our thanks and sincerest gratitude to both Conor Gibney and Michal Kazio. During their time within AFI, they played a key role in setting up a reformed finance department, while also putting systems in place to help AFI succeed long into the future. Both Connor and Michal embraced their roles as volunteers and ultimately the sport of American football. We wish them all the best in their future endeavours.”
Following a thorough recruitment process, Alan Browne was appointed as Chief Finance Officer in October 2020 and has since been undergoing a transition period with Conor and Michal.
The AFI 2020 AGM will take place on Sunday 14th February 2021 at 2pm. The AGM will be hosted online using Zoom, in accordance with government COVID-19 restrictions. All clubs and directors are required to have a representative sign into the meeting to discuss association business and take part in the voting/election process.
Proposals should include three sections as set out below:
- Existing wording as per Constitution/Bylaws and the relevant section (if amending current rule).
- Exact proposed wording for it to be replaced with (if amending current rule).
- Reasoning for the Proposal.
There are 5 positions up for election as follows;
- 1 x 3 Year Term
Management Board Member
- 3 x 3 Year Term
- 1 x 2 Year Term
All candidates for election must be members in good standing with at least 3 consecutive years affiliation to AFI. All Management Board members are expected to attend monthly meetings, attend occasional midweek training courses and meetings with external organizations. The role of a Management Board member is to promote the growth and development of the sport in line with our governing documents and the Governance Code.
It is important that all these positions are filled for the continued management of the association. It is requested that all clubs disseminate this notice to their members with a view to seeking nominations for election.
The Nomination of Election form can be found on page 45 of the AFI Bylaws which are located here. Completed forms must be returned to the commissioner (Brian Cleary) on or before 24th January 2021.
AFI is delighted to release our 5-year strategic plan. This plan intends to give the management team and members of American Football Ireland (AFI) a focus for the development of American football in Ireland over the next five years and to build upon the existing achievements of AFI.
With thanks to Charmaeducs Photography, Terrance McCann Photography, Ian Humes Photography and Keith Elgin Photography for use of their fantastic images throughout the document.
The plan is built on 4 key pillars:
- Growth of overall membership – Increase the number of playing and non-playing members from 1650 to 3000.
- Safeguard the future of our sport – Increase the number of members aged under 21 from 500 to 1000.
- Be a leader in governance – Excel in Sport Ireland compliance. Have the necessary tools in place to be able to run the association as efficiently as possible.
- Build our reputation with IFAF – To be included in proposed international games and championships each year at senior kitted, youth kitted and flag football levels.
One of the predominant themes throughout is to increase female participation at all levels as well as developing our youth and flag programmes to increase participation of under 18-year olds. Please see the full plan below or at this link.
The 2020 AGM scheduled for Sunday 6th December has been postponed until Q1 2021 following a decision made by the board. An email has been sent to all members with further details.
On behalf of the American Football Ireland board, I wish to inform you of the resignation of our president, Orla McAleese due to unforeseen circumstances.
First of all, I would like to acknowledge the tough decision Orla made to step away from a sport and a membership which I know she loved.
Most people in life strive to achieve success. While in her role as president of AFI, Orla has far exceeded success. Her dedication and commitment to American Football Ireland is unmatched and undeniable. In 3 years, Orla has worked tirelessly to develop strong relationships within AFI and with our external stakeholders. As a result, this has really set up AFI for continued growth and success long into our future. She has given up her free time to run and promote our association at all levels. She is a key figure and reason why AFI are on a journey of governance compliance.
On behalf of the AFI board, our administration, our directors and our membership, I wish to say a huge thank you to Orla for all she has done for American Football Ireland over the past 3 years.
Interim AFI President
The American Football Ireland AGM will NOT take place as previously advertised on the 8th November 2020.
The new date for the AGM is Sunday 6th December 2020. It will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Northwood Park, Santry Demense, Dublin at 2pm (same venue as the 2019 AGM).
We are Constitutionally bound to advertise our AGM before year end and this date is subject to Covid restrictions being appropriately lifted.
We will have a Presidential election and a number of board positions becoming available so in the interim please share this notice with your members who may wish to consider joining the management of AFI.
Further information on submission of proposals and election nominees will be forwarded in due course.
American Football Ireland
AFI President Orla McAleese “This weekend saw the departure for two of our board colleagues, Christine Bolton and John Lynch. Both have left for personal reasons. I would like to acknowledge the work, input and support they have given to the association during their time on the board.
Their time and effort to work with their fellow members to help maintain and grow the sport has not gone without notice. Giving up their free time to attend meetings, work with our directors and members on queries, and endless nights of going through paperwork and policies.
From everyone on the board, our directors and our members, we thank both Christine and John for everything they have done over the past months and years.”
AFI is delighted to announce the appointment of Peter McKenna to the board as an external board member.
Peter is a keen sports enthusiast and brings a vast wealth of experience including involvement in the GAA at various levels. Peter has worked in Ireland, the US, Canada and Europe in all levels of an organisation from board level to staff. Peter has a wide range of qualifications including a Professional Diploma in High Performance Business Development, a Professional Diploma in Applied Performance Analysis, a GAA Accredited Performance Analyst and is a Sport Ireland Accredited Coaching Tutor. Welcome to AFI Peter and best of luck in the role!
This now means that the board is running at full capacity with 9 board members – details of the AFI Management Team can be found here.
To our membership,
I wanted to write this open letter to all of you, our members, in light of recent events that occurred inside and outside of our football family.
We are living in strange times; COVID-19 has made us look at how we live and how we go about our daily lives differently, and it is becoming the “new norm”.
It has affected our sport and we are putting the plans in place, with a roadmap, to return to play so you can enjoy football again.
It is a slow process but, like everything we have done as a board over the past three years, it will be done to the best of our abilities, with the outside expertise we need from our sporting partners, and with the greatest ease and safety for you and your clubs.
Over the last few weeks there has been a global movement against racism. As an association we have not responded. I wanted to take my time to think about what I would say but my lack of words has spoken louder than anything I could have said. I have always considered AFI as a progressive and inclusive association and I am proud that our membership is made up of such a diverse group of people.
I have seen so many words, in the past couple of weeks, to explain how people are feeling including statements from departments within our own association. The words I wish to see more the use of are respect when we practice diversity and inclusivity, and integrity in doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
It has become evident to me that we need to be doing more. As an association, we need to reinforce our core values and beliefs, we need to provide a safe and welcoming environment for everyone who takes part in our sport.
To many it may look like that, as an association, we are not doing anything and are staying silent, but the board has been working together for many weeks to introduce a new diversity project and for that we need your help.
Over the coming weeks, we will be contacting our members to learn about your experiences while participating in the sport. We will be appointing a workgroup to consider the feedback and use those learnings to develop an action plan to ultimately promote and grow respect for diversity within our association, starting within our clubs upward. We want to establish a safe and supportive environment and platform for our members to express their views.
I understand that we need to do better. We, as a national governing body, need to be leaders in setting the standard. Campaigns come and go; social media posts and profiles change daily and there will always be another good cause to support. Our plan for diversity will live on and become part of our association. It will become part of who we are, and we will speak as one voice across the different elements of our association. I call on you all to help us and make it a living reality.
American Football Ireland
Sport Northern Ireland have launched their new online version of the Safeguarding Children and Young People course. This will allow Northern Ireland coaches and volunteers to gain the required safeguarding certification they need to coach/volunteer with persons under the age of 18 (flag and youth football). The first dates have just been announced – please find these and further information at http://www.sportni.net/clubs-coaching/safeguarding.
Spaces are limited so if you as a coach or volunteer need this certification, please sign up as soon as possible.
Quick reminder that coaches and volunteers must also be vetted (find out how to here: https://www.americanfootball.ie/governance/vetting/).
AFI is delighted to announce that Brian Cleary has accepted the position of Commissioner following a recent recruitment campaign. Brian brings a wealth of experience to the association as well as having served as Commissioner on an interim basis in the past. All general queries as well as queries relating to senior kitted football should be sent to Brian at email@example.com
Congratulations Brian and best of luck in the position!
Following a unanimous vote at Januarys SGM, the Irish American Football Association (IAFA) has changed its name to American Football Ireland (AFI), effective immediately.
AFI President Orla McAleese “This is a very exciting time for American Football Ireland. We are going into a new decade with a new brand and look. While we are evolving our name rather than completely changing it, it was the best strategic move for the association. It is important not to forget the 34 years the association has been part of sport in Ireland. That history will never be forgotten, it is part of us and what we are made of. We are just beginning a new step in our journey.”
American Football Ireland are delighted to announce two appointments to the management board. John Lynch (Wexford Eagles) and Paul Kirkwood (Dublin Rebels) have been co-opted on to the board with immediate effect. We would like to extend a warm welcome to both and wish them all the best in their roles.
Further opportunities to join American Football Ireland management can be found here.
The IAFA Management Board have scheduled a Special General Meeting which will take place on the 25th January 2020 at 2pm. It will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin.
Further details of the meeting have been sent to all clubs via email.
IAFA are delighted to announce that Robert Caldwell has been appointed as the new Director of Flag Football and will officially start the role on 1st January 2020. Robert will be working with outgoing director Guillaume Poznanski in a hand-over phase throughout December 2019. Guillaume will begin his new role as Head Coach of the Wolfhounds Flag Football on 1st January 2020.
Robert has been a member of IAFA for 8 years and was one of the founding members of the Louth Mavericks. Having played both kitted and flag football, Robert was appointed Head Coach of the Mavericks flag football programme 2 years ago and was instrumental in helping the Mavericks field two flag teams this year whilst also a member of the IAFA flag football committee in 2019.
His main objectives are to increase participation (particularly females), improve officiating and reduce forfeits. Welcome aboard Robert and we wish you all the very best in your role!
Following yesterday’s AGM, several management changes took place:
- Brian Cleary stepped down from the management board after 4 years of service. Brian will continue in the role of interim Commissioner. Joseph Maguire also stepped down from the management board having been co-opted on earlier this year. We would like to express our sincere thanks to both for their time and effort whilst on the board.
- Christine Bolton and Paul O’Donnell were elected to the board, both to 3-year terms. Christine had been co-opted on to the board earlier this year and is a former chairperson of the West Dublin Rhinos. Paul has been a member of the Donegal/Derry Vipers for 4 years. You are both very welcome and we wish you all the best in your roles.
- Emma Burrows stepped down as Director of Coaching following 2 years in the role. Emma has been instrumental in transforming the coaching department with a new level 0, Sport Ireland accredited coaching course and several level 1 courses close to being accredited. Thank you Emma for your time and effort in the position. We are now accepting applications for the Director of Coaching role – more details can be found here.
There were also numerous changes to the constitution approved, one of which included the management structure of IAFA. The new structure that was approved by the membership can be seen in the image below.
Director of Youth Football, Director of Flag Football, and Commercial Director have been added to reinforce our commitment to grow the Association and secure its future, both financially and in terms of membership numbers. Director of National Programme Operations created to reinforce our commitment to the highest level of our sport. The Director of National Programme Operations will head a National Programme Operations committee to include team managers for senior, youth and flag. The additional roles added is due to our growth, particularly our youth and flag programmes.
The IAFA AGM will take place on the 17th November 2019 at 2pm. It will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Northwood Park, Santry Demense, Dublin (same venue as last year).
Any proposals to amend the Constitution must be sent to the Commissioner no later than the 18th October 2019.
Any proposals to amend the IAFA bylaws they must be sent to the Commissioner no later than the 2nd November 2019.
When submitting proposals, please include the original wording as per the Constitution/Bylaws and the actual amended wording you would like to replace it with. Please also include a brief rationale for the proposed change.
The following Management Board positions will be up for election at the AGM;
- 3 Year Position – Currently Vacant
- 3 Year Position – Currently held by Brian Cleary
- 1 Year Position – Liam Ryan’s remaining term currently held by Joseph Maguire
- 1 Year Position – Donnchá O’Comhuí’s remaining term currently held by Christine Bolton
All candidates for election must have 3 years consecutive membership in good standing with IAFA. Board members are expected to attend monthly management meetings, attend occasional midweek training courses and meetings with external organizations e.g. Sport Ireland. The role of a Management Board member is to promote the growth and development of the sport in line with our governing documents and the Governance Code.
If you wish to run as a candidate for election, please complete the “Candidate for Election” form found in Appendix 2 of IAFA Bylaws (under Governance > Resources) and return it to the Commissioner no later than the 2nd November 2019.
The IAFA is delighted to announce the following appointments;
Director of Officiating: Steve Moles has been appointed to this role on a full time basis. Steve has been involved with IAFA for over ten years and during that time participated as a player, official and sat on club boards. Steve has been the Interim Director of Officiating since the start of this season and has done a fantastic job in this role. We wish him continued success in the development of the department going forward.
Officiating Development Officer: Tony Rivers has been appointed to this role within the Officiating Department reporting directly to the Officiating Development Manager (Barry Bolton). Tony has been involved in American Football for over 30 years both in the UK and Ireland and having previously served as the Director of Officiating will bring invaluable experience to the role. This role will involve the continued development of our full time officials. Tony will be attending games and submitting reports to the Development manager with a view to providing feedback to our officials and the further development of our training courses.
Commercial Director: We are delighted to welcome Kate Sherry into the IAFA family. Kate is about to undertake a Masters in Sports Management and brings with her extensive experience in the commercial sector having worked in senior positions with a number of market leaders over the past 15 years. Kate will be responsible for maximising our income opportunities at events and seeking sponsorship/partnerships for IAFA.
We look forward to working with these newly appointed personnel over the next number of months for the betterment of our association.
The 2019 IAFA By-Laws have been updated and are accessible in the Governance\Resources section of the website here.