Thursday 22 August 2019

'It was impossible for one person to do three jobs' - John Delaney on move to new FAI role

Loan: Former CEO of the Football Association of Ireland John Delaney. Photo: PA
Loan: Former CEO of the Football Association of Ireland John Delaney. Photo: PA

John Fallon and Laura Larkin

John Delaney has hit out at his critics, saying the FAI decided to create his new role as executive vice-president as he was working "three jobs".

The embattled former CEO maintains he will continue to have a central role in Irish football by expanding the FAI brand worldwide.

He stepped down from the top job last month in the wake of the revelation that he loaned €100,000 to the FAI in 2017. He was immediately appointed as executive vice-president of the association, a role which did not previously exist.

Speaking on the Tipp FM Podcast, Mr Delaney explained how his workload had increased since his election to the Uefa executive committee in 2017.

"I've been trying to attend functions and games every weekend and run an organisation with a €50m turnover and 200 staff," he said.

"Then there's a huge international dimension to the job. I'm on the board of Uefa.

"We also have a feasibility study along with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for a World Cup bid. There are meetings in England next week and that's making significant progress.

"It really was impossible for one person to do the three jobs. That's why the FAI commissioned an independent report to split the duties."

He said he is looking to expand the FAI's reach internationally.

"There's the generation of revenue in other parts of the world like the United States and Australia which we've never really looked at.

"I'm giving a flavour of what's ahead for me.

"I know there's a lot we can deliver internationally over the next few years in terms of funding and hosting major tournaments," he added.

His comments come as Sport Ireland, the body which oversees State funding to the FAI, will tell the Oireachtas Sports Committee today that the association has not sufficiently explained the reasons for the €100,000 loan.

The FAI has come under increased scrutiny - and will itself appear before the same committee next week - over the loan.

It was not disclosed in the FAI's accounts, nor was it notified to Sport Ireland. The FAI has said it was a bridging loan to deal with cash-flow issues and it has responded to a letter from Sport Ireland which sought "urgent clarification" on the loan.

However, Sport Ireland's boss John Treacy will today say the organisation does not feel it has received sufficient explanation about the loan and whether the failure to disclose the FAI's financial position at the time of the loan meets the terms and conditions of its grant funding.

In response to queries, an FAI spokesman said: "The FAI is engaged with Sport Ireland and will continue to work with Sport Ireland in response to all matters raised."

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport