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Pressure on FAI to reveal full details of €350k Delaney pay-off

- Former CEO’s exit package 'a good deal', claim insiders

- Minister wants to know if taxpayers' money was used

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Ex-FAI CEO John Delaney

Ex-FAI CEO John Delaney

Sports minister Shane Ross

Sports minister Shane Ross

Delaney with model Nadia Forde at a 'Strictly Soccer' fundraiser in 2013

Delaney with model Nadia Forde at a 'Strictly Soccer' fundraiser in 2013

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Ex-FAI CEO John Delaney

Former FAI chief John Delaney left with an exit package in the region of €350,000 but had originally looked for multiples of this sum, the Herald can reveal today.

The FAI has come under growing pressure to reveal full details of its confidential golden handshake.

Sports Minister Shane Ross warned the full details must be published before Government funding can be restored.

The departure of Mr Delaney, which was announced on Saturday night, ended his long association with the FAI, after months of controversy.

It is understood that the Delaney camp was originally looking for a "substantially more" than the €350k to cut his ties with the FAI, when the negotiations first began.

Turbulent

Mr Delaney's resignation from his position as executive vice-president was announced late on Saturday night, with a brief four-paragraph statement confirming the end of his relationship with Irish football's governing body.

The statement, which the FAI released at 11.15pm, said that the 51-year-old was leaving with immediate effect.

Mr Delaney was CEO of the FAI until March, when he was controversially moved to a new post in the aftermath of a turbulent period arising from the emergence of a €100,000 bridging loan to his employer in 2017.

A month later, it was announced that Mr Delaney had "voluntarily stepped aside" pending the outcome of reviews into the affairs of the FAI. It is understood that talks between the respective legal teams have taken place in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, sources say the spotlight will now fall on his lucrative membership of Uefa.

The website of European football's governing body still lists Mr Delaney as one of the 20 members of its executive committee.

The role on the committee brings status, and a huge number of fringe benefits, with a salary of €160,000 a year.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Ross said the Government wanted to know the full details of any financial agreement that was made with Mr Delaney as part of his decision to quit.

No details of the severance terms have been released. The FAI would only say that it would "fulfill certain notice and pension obligations".

Its statement said that both sides would maintain confidentiality on the exit terms.

But Mr Ross told RTE News that he also wanted to know whether taxpayers' money was used to fund the severance agreement with Mr Delaney.

He said the public needed to be confident that large sums were not being paid out without any real need.

"I think it's absurd, after all the controversy, that we shouldn't know exactly what the pay-off is," Mr Ross said.

The minister welcomed the resignation.

But he said the FAI still required root-and-branch governance reforms and he wanted to see the old regime changed in its entirety.

"It's not good enough to chop off one head and save the rest of them.

"We've got to see root-and-branch reform," he said.

Mr Ross added that he was waiting for the three reports into the FAI's finances.

The first of these is due to be published in little more than a week and these reports would influence the question of future Government funding for the FAI.

Mr Delaney served as FAI chief executive from 2005 until March 2019, when he moved to a new role as executive vice-president.

This followed the news that he had given a bridging loan of €100,000 to his employers.

Some weeks after the controversy broke, he stepped aside altogether pending full inquiries into the FAI's affairs.

It is understood that he remained on full pay until Saturday's announcement of the parting of the ways with immediate effect.

The pay-off in relation to his pension entitlements and what amounts to holiday pay is likely to draw a backlash from hard-pressed soccer clubs.

Courts

However, some senior officials in the FAI feel that the weekend exit of Mr Delaney was a good deal for them.

"This needed to happen and we needed to get it done on the cheap. It would have cost us a lot more money and a lot more time to go through the courts," one staffer said.

Two weeks of talks and a late-night settlement on Saturday will see him walking away with the equivalent of a year's salary.

However, his Uefa job could now also potentially come to an end. There was a long-held belief that Mr Delaney's role with Uefa would end the minute he severed his ties with the FAI.

It was thought that someone needed to have a formal role within their own domestic football association if they were to stay on the Uefa executive committee.

However, the Herald can reveal that leaving your own Football Association does not immediately lead to a Uefa departure.

But sources say that "Uefa will now start the process of getting Delaney off their books".


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