Wednesday 18 September 2019

Daniel McDonnell: 'FAI staff seem to be looking to future without John Delaney'


Former FAI CEO John Delaney. Photo: David Conachy
Former FAI CEO John Delaney. Photo: David Conachy
Rea Walshe pictured with John Delaney
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

History may well be kind to the FAI's handling of the manic Monday that concluded with uncertainty around John Delaney's position within the association. It's a major lingering issue from a dramatic couple of days which continues to generate discussion.

Where exactly does Delaney stand with the FAI? John Treacy said on Tuesday that he believed Delaney was "still on the payroll" at Abbotstown.

The Sport Ireland chief then said yesterday that the 51-year-old was "not a part of the FAI anymore" as he discussed ongoing correspondence with the football association regards governance matters.

To place it in football parlance, Delaney is still on the books but he's no longer in the FAI's matchday squad.

It's understood that staff in the FAI are planning for the future without Delaney. After all, life does have to go on while a series of investigations are carried out.

Meetings and processes are in train that would normally have involved the FAI's most senior and experienced administrator.

That would suggest that the FAI is not putting its life on hold, and that in itself is significant.

Delaney, for his part, is entitled to due process as an employee of the association.

The exchange of legal views on Monday indicates that the complexities of Delaney's contract had to be explored as part of any conversation around his future.

And it would seem that the FAI is very conscious of that, with leading officials simply refusing to respond to queries about the status of the ex-CEO. Doing so publicly could have implications.

It is a highly unusual situation and, for the wider public, it is unsatisfactory. There is always a desire for closure in these scenarios.

For the respective parties, it has the potential to be bothersome - especially with the European U17 finals coming around the corner at the start of next month.

Uefa has been politely responding to persistent queries by stating that it cannot make comment on the specifics of Delaney's situation.

That position will eventually have to alter - especially when its top brass find themselves in a press conference. Delaney will be the elephant in the room.

But FAI business is moving on without him.

Irish Independent

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