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Delaney reveals his UEFA board ambitions


John Delaney contrasted the work of UEFA against the scandal that has enveloped FIFA

John Delaney contrasted the work of UEFA against the scandal that has enveloped FIFA

Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

John Delaney contrasted the work of UEFA against the scandal that has enveloped FIFA

FAI chief executive John Delaney has said that he would be interested in progressing to the board of UEFA at some stage in the future.

On the day his confirmation that the FAI received money from FIFA in the aftermath of Thierry Henry's handball became a global talking point, Delaney outlined his own ambitions.

The Waterford man, who has served as Irish football's chief executive since 2004, stressed that he is extremely content in his current job, with a contract that expires in 2020.

But he revealed that UEFA have spoken to him about the possibility of taking a prominent role in their organisation.

"I'm quite happy in Ireland," said Delaney in his wide-ranging chat on RTE's Ray D'Arcy show.

"Maybe at some stage I might consider going to the board of UEFA. I've been asked in the past to think about it. But it's not on my agenda. My agenda is to run Irish football."

Delaney lauded the work of UEFA in contrast to the scandal that has enveloped FIFA and ultimately led to the departure of Sepp Blatter.

Asked directly if he had ever been offered a bribe in the course of his football work, he said: "No no, no no," before quipping, "Not on my salary." Delaney earns €360,000 a year for his work in Abbotstown.

"It (UEFA) is as clean as it gets," he continued. "There are three members under suspicion.

"But I was never in a position to award something, so I was never awarding a championship or something like that. Look, I am paid to do a job and I know I'm paid very well, I'm very happy in the job.

"If anybody come up to me and offered me a bribe, I'd say, 'because you offered me a bribe, you're not getting anything.'"

Delaney also offered his tuppence on the furore surrounding in-demand teenager Jack Grealish, who refused a call from Martin O'Neill for this summer's international gathering because he is considering his options, with England interested.

"It's a big question," he said, when pressed on the Birmingham-born Aston Villa star. "He's got to make a decision in his own time. I hope he plays for us but whoever he decides to play for, we'll fully respect it.

"He's played with us at underage level, at U-21 in particular. He's a good young talent. I've met his dad (Kevin) a couple of times and the FAI have treated the family well.

"You can only say to a guy enough times that I'd like you to come and play for us. It's up to the player, the player ultimately makes the decision and I hope he comes to us."

Irish Independent