Tuesday 21 May 2019

Delaney used Henry handball payment to argue for €2m exit deal

John Delaney. Photo: Sportsfile
John Delaney. Photo: Sportsfile

Daniel McDonnell and Tim Healy

Former FAI chief executive John Delaney told officials that the association needed to "look after him when he left" prior to discussions that led to the insertion of an exit payment in his contract.

His role in securing €5m from Fifa in the aftermath of the Thierry Henry handball was one of the justifications offered for the 'loyalty deal' worth a reported €2m in the form of deferred payments.

The clause was a significant part of the deal signed by Mr Delaney in 2014, which was due to keep him in office until 2020. It's understood there was no agreement of that nature in his previous contract.

The FAI and Fifa agreed a €5m settlement in the form of a loan in 2010 after Mr Delaney took issue with public comments from then Fifa chief Sepp Blatter.

This was a reason offered by Mr Delaney's supporters for improved terms and conditions for the CEO.

Income generated by Mr Delaney through sponsorships was also cited as strengthening the argument for a longer-term reward. This coincided with a period when Mr Delaney's salary was cut.

His basic earnings peaked at close to €450,000 in 2010 but he took two pay cuts which brought it down to €360,000 by 2012. This was in tandem with reductions for all FAI employees.

"John said that the FAI needed to look after him when he left," said one FAI insider with knowledge of negotiations which were factored into his next deal.

Board members were aware of changes to the CEO's deal in 2014, but some did not have a knowledge of the specific detail until recent discussions centred around his future with the FAI.

The exit payment has proved to be a stumbling block in talks about a possible exit with Mr Delaney due a portion of the deferred amount.

Mr Delaney has voluntarily stepped aside from his FAI role pending the outcome of a number of investigations.

The FAI was in the High Court yesterday arguing that certain information in 10 documents provided to the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) cannot be disclosed to third parties as they include legal advice from interim CEO Rea Walshe.

Ms Walshe is a qualified solicitor and is described by the FAI in court documents as its "internal legal adviser" who has provided legal advice that the documents are privileged.

Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds adjourned a decision.

Irish Independent

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