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UEFA axe next to fall on John

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John Delaney. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

John Delaney. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

John Delaney. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

For John Delaney, his FAI role was the bread and butter, albeit on a very lucrative salary, but it's his UEFA gig that was, in the words of the original Del Boy, "the creme de la menthe".

Delaney's long association with the FAI ended late on Saturday night, and his time with UEFA is about to come to an end.

He hasn't gone away you know, in UEFA terms. The website of European football's governing body still lists Delaney as one of the 20 members of their Executive Committee.

Some of the names on ExCo are familiar, like legendary players Zbigniew Boniek and Davor Suker; most of them are faceless bureaucrats who proudly don their UEFA-issued blazer in the posed pics that appear on uefa.com, and as of this morning, Delaney is still one of them.

But UEFA will now start the process of getting Delaney off their books, now that his FAI departure has cleared the way for them to also look for a divorce.

It's unlikely he will be dismissed from ExCo, as that's now how UEFA works, and UEFA would be as reluctant to enter a long, costly, legal process with Delaney as the FAI were. The most likely outcome is that UEFA president Alexander Ceferin will simply stress to the Waterford native that it's best for both parties (mainly UEFA it must be said) to end the affair and ask him to resign.

There was a long-held belief that Delaney's role with UEFA would end the minute he severed his ties with the FAI, that someone needed to have a formal role with their domestic football association to stay on ExCo, a position which brings with it a lot of status, a huge amount of fringe benefits, and a very tasty salary of €160,000 a year. And lest we forget, when the scandal first broke in March, we were told by the FAI that: "The CEO has also confirmed that his UEFA remuneration for 2018 has been donated back to the FAI on a voluntary basis".

But leaving your own FA does not immediately lead to a UEFA departure: Michele Uva left his position as CEO of the Italian FA last December but remains on UEFA's ExCo,so there is a precedent there for someone like Delaney to stay on with UEFA despite having no formal links to his own FA.

But that won't happen, as UEFA are keen to see the back of Delaney just as much as the current regime of the FAI were to cut him loose.

Ceferin in particular is keen for UEFA to be, and be seen as, scandal-free. Names like Boniek add gloss to their dealings with major corporations, governments ad sponsors, and that's the kind of face they want at the heart of that body.

It's significant that in the six months since Delaney styepped down from his CEO role, not one UEFA figure has come out to bat for him. Ireland hosted the U17 Euro finals in May without the presence, on even one occasion, of Delaney, head of their Youth Committee.

Delaney, described by his supporters as a key figure in Dublin getting to host four Euro 2020 games, has not been mentioned once in relation to Euro 2020 since March.

A name not mentioned in public, Delaney is still with UEFA but in name only. That end is also nigh.


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