Still heat on FAI chief John Delaney despite sideways move

John Delaney is still under scrutiny as the former chief executive was moved to another role in the FAI
From Brendan Crossan in Gibraltar

EMBATTLED FAI chief John Delaney appears to be fighting for his future after further revelations were revealed in a Sunday Times investigation.

Last week, the newspaper revealed the high-profile official had provided his employers with a €100,00 undeclared bridging loan in 2017, and in yesterday’s edition it reported the FAI had been paying Delaney’s €3,000 monthly rent for his house in Wicklow since 2016.

In the immediate aftermath of Saturday night’s tense 1-0 Euro 2020 win over Gibraltar, the FAI confirmed that following a review of their senior management structures Delaney – the chief executive of the association since 2005 – was relinquishing the role and would undertake a newly created position, entitled Executive Vice-President, which would appear to still provide a pathway to UEFA’s Executive Committee.

Chief Operating Officer Rea Walshe will assume the chief executive post on an interim basis before a recruitment process begins.

Since 2012, there have been job losses at the Association while staff took two pay cuts, although they were recently restored in the Labour Courts.

Delaney also took a pay cut in 2012 - from €450,000 to €360,000 – but the fact the Association had paid his €36,000 per year rent since 2016 helped to offset his reduction in salary.In a long list of FAI press statements regarding Delaney's position over the last week, the Association yesterday confirmed he had accepted a "substantial reduction in salary" in his new role and he would indeed be part of an FAI delegation that would meet with the Oireachtas Committee on Sport - a government scrutiny body - on April 3.

In an 1,800-word statement, released minutes after the final whistle on Saturday night, FAI President Donal Conway thanked the former chief executive for "everything he has done for the FAI and for Irish football. He has transformed how we operate as an Association."

Many Irish football fans had anticipated Delaney would be placed on gardening leave pending an investigation or that he may in fact resign.

But being moved into a new position was greeted with surprise.

“This new role will allow John to utilise his vast experience and connections in the world of football and will best serve the FAI,” Conway added.

“John will continue to represent us at UEFA level as we look ahead to next year when the Aviva Stadium will host four games at the EURO 2020 finals thanks to his influence at European level."

Former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr described Delaney as having a "vice-like grip" on the association for 14 years and that he should "leave the stage altogether".

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