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Delaney commits to FAI for five more years

FIVE MORE years -- John Delaney's influence over football policy in Ireland will remain until 2015 as the Waterford man has agreed a new five-year contract as Chief Executive of the FAI.

Delaney assumed the most powerful position in the Irish game in 2004, succeeding Fran Rooney, and since then he has managed to strengthen his position with the association. The FAI yesterday stated that the members of the FAI's board of management "unanimously asked current FAI Chief Executive, John Delaney to remain in office for a further five-year term to 2015".

But Delaney has little time to rest on his laurels as he will face a testing time at the FAI's AGM in Wexford next month, as the ongoing difficulties in paying for the new stadium at Lansdowne Road will become more clearly understood -- hopefully -- when the annual accounts are presented to FAI delegates.

That AGM will also offer League of Ireland clubs a forum to state their unhappiness at recent events over friendly games, which saw a visit by Barcelona ruled out because of a clash with a new FAI policy on high-profile friendly games. The IRFU only last week announced that they are well ahead of schedule in terms of paying for their part of the stadium development with fresh ticket sales coming on stream in the coming seasons.

But with ticket sales from soccer slumping due to the recession, club and league representatives will be eager to find out just how much the FAI have left to pay for the ground, which sees its first soccer match next month with the visit of Manchester United for a friendly.

With that friendly between United and a League of Ireland XI, the August 11 visit of Argentina, home European Championship qualifiers against Andorra and Russia and a November friendly against Norway, the FAI are in line for some decent gates at the Dublin 4 venue -- but long-term there is major concern.

In announcing Delaney's new deal, FAI president David Blood said: "John has presided over the development and growth of all strands of the game and we are delighted to announce that he will continue as Chief Executive."