Wednesday 16 October 2019

FAI reached confidential John Delaney deal to avoid adding to legal costs already approaching €1.5m

Former FAI chief executive John Delaney at the Aviva Stadium.
Photo: Gerry Mooney
Former FAI chief executive John Delaney at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The FAI made the decision to seek a parting settlement with John Delaney after concluding that the only alternative was a costly battle that would have multiplied the legal bill from a year of crisis which already stands at close to €1.5m.

Delaney's resignation from the FAI was announced last night after a fresh round of talks between legal representatives to seek clarity on his future.

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The value of the deal that formalised his departure will not be disclosed by the relevant parties.

It's understood that he has received a six figure sum that is close to his annual salary of €360,000.

READ MORE: John Delaney’s pay-off details must be revealed before government restores FAI funding, warns Shane Ross

FAI sources insist that it was a good deal for Irish football's governing body.

The bulk of the payout relates to the pension element of the ex-CEO's contract which was the main sticking point in discussions

Delaney had 'voluntarily stepped aside' from his new post of Executive Vice President in April, having transitioned to that role from CEO a month later.

The official line was that he had offered to do so pending the outcome of a series of reviews into the affairs of the Association after the emergence of financial transactions between Delaney and his employer in 2017.

It was followed by revelations about expenses payments and other spending during his time as CEO.

Delaney has been paid during his period of leave from Abbotstown, thus meaning that he would have collected over €150k from the FAI in his five months on the sidelines.

He exits the FAI stage ahead of the release of a Sport Ireland commissioned audit on FAI business due on October 7th. The results of an internal review carried out by Mazars are expected in November.

It's believed that Delaney's team mounted a defence of their client on the basis that FAI officers or staff had signed off on any financial decisions that were made under his watch.

There had been calls for Delaney to be sacked at the beginning of the crisis, but the FAI acted on advice which urged them against doing so.

The decision to finalise negotiations about an exit deal was borne out of the firm opinion that the impasse between the respective sides was potentially headed towards a longer term legal process that would have placed even more of a strain on the FAI finances.

Independent.ie understands that the FAI's bill for legal affairs this year is now close to the €1.5m mark and rising.

A resolution of Delaney's position was a high priority. UEFA were keen for the matter to be resolved. Their support has kept the Association afloat through the crisis, with advance payments allowing the FAI to meet commitments.

Delaney remains on the Executive Committee of UEFA but has been told not to attend meetings. It's now anticipated that there will be clarity on his UEFA standing in the coming weeks with an exit from that stage also anticipated.

The FAI's financial picture should begin to become clear when the 2018 accounts are presented at a re-convened AGM. July's annual meeting was adjourned to allow the various reviews to be carried out.

However, the investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) into the FAI will continue independently and will not be affected by any internal changes in Abbotstown.

The ODCE enquiry stepped up after auditors Deloitte filed a notice with the Companies Registration Office stating proper accounting records had not been kept by the FAI.

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