EditDUBLIN: Uncertainty continues over the future of John Delaney despite his decision to ‘step aside’ at the Football Association of Ireland pending the outcome of inquiries into its finances writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Last month Delaney abandoned his role as ceo and took up a new position as executive vice-president ahead of an unsatisfactory stonewalling, appearance before a parliamentary committee a €100,000 loan he provided to the governing body in 2017.
Delaney, who has said it was the only time he gave such a loan and that it was repaid in full, has led the FAi as ceo since 2005.
His offer to ‘step aside’ means he remains on the FAI payroll.
Delaney’s continuance helps fulfil one of the conditions of his status as a member of the executive committee of European federation UEFA. He will need an executive position to be able to stand for re-election in two years’ time.
However without any resolution of the FAI crisis he will come under pressure to follow the example of UEFA exco colleague Reinhard Grindel who has resigned from the European governing body after having been forced to quit his leadership of the German federation over an undeclared income scandal.
Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy has said his understanding is that “John Delaney is on gardening leave, or whatever the description is.”
Delaney’s loan issue came to public attention only after The Sunday Times succeeded with a court application to prevent Delaney keeping the matter secret.
The Sunday Times reported this past weekend that Delaney spent almost €40,000 on his work credit card in the space of six months shortly before he had to personally bail out the association.
It said the charges included duty-free purchases, meals in Delaney’s local pub and cash withdrawals of more than €6,000.
Delaney has denied all wrongdoing.
The FAI board resigned last night after failing to explain the Delaney loan and its reasons to Ireland’s corporate watchdog, Sport Ireland. The state-funded body has said the FAI had not fulfilled its duty of notify it about a deterioration in its finances.
In one of its latest statements, the FAI said Delaney had offered “voluntarily to step aside pending the completion of an independent investigation into issues of concern to the board.”
Honorary secretary Michael Cody and treasurer Eddie Murray have resigned.
UEFA will want matters resolved tidily as soon as possible because Dublin is scheduled to host matches in the finals of the European Championship next year.
Failure could result in Ireland losing its matches. UEFA has already set a precedent by dropping Brussels as a host city because of the Belgian authorities’ failure to follow through on promises of a new stadium.