Niall Quinn emerges as early candidate as FAI search for new CEO
Niall Quinn has emerged as as the favourite to become the new FAI CEO after the shock departure of John Delaney from the role.
In a statement released last night, the FAI announced that Delaney was stepping down from the position to become an Executive Vice President in the organisation. FAI COO Rea Walshe has been appointed as interim chief executive until a permanent replacement is found.
That person could be Quinn, with the Sunday Independent reporting that the Ireland legend would be interested in the role if an approach was made. Recently the former striker has been in the media discussing his plan for the development of underage football in Ireland, with his vision generating a lot of debate.
The news of Delaney's departure comes one week after it emerged that he had paid €100,000 to the association in the form of a bridging loan back in 2017.
However, the FAI statement said that the changes were a consequence of a governance review that was commissioned in February and undertaken by sports governance expert Jonathan Hall Associates, and their principal Jonathan Hall, who is a former Director of Governance and Director of Football Services with the English FA.
The FAI admitted last weekend that it received a €100,000 loan from Delaney in April 2017 to ease cash flow problems. The transaction was not mentioned in the audited accounts for 2017 with the FAI saying that they had "a short-term cash flow issue".
In the FAI statement, the duties Delaney will have as Executive Vice President were explained:
"The new role of Executive Vice-President would be a specific defined role with responsibility for a range of international matters and special projects on behalf of the FAI. It is envisaged that the current CEO would step into this new role. This would allow Irish football to continue to benefit from his extensive football experience and contacts across Europe and the rest of the world."
The report adds: "A new Chief Executive should be recruited to be responsible for all the other issues typically overseen by a Chief Executive of a national association. The new Chief Executive would assume responsibility for leading and managing the executive team at the FAI with appropriate executive support being provided to the Executive Vice-President to carry out the role. Both roles should be clearly defined and would report into the Board.
"The new Chief Executive and the Executive Vice-President would need to work closely together in a collaborative manner in line with the updated strategy established by the new Chief Executive and agreed by the Board."
"Under the new procedures, the Executive Vice-President and the CEO would attend Board meetings of the FAI but would not be members of the Board."
Speaking about the new role, John Delaney said:
"I am very proud of my work as CEO with the FAI. Since I took up the office we have improved how we operate as an Association.
"We have gone from 40 to over 200 employees in that time. We have moved to the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown and we have worked with Sport Ireland on developing world class facilities there.
"Just last week, our senior international team trained on the pitches at the FAI National Training Centre alongside our Under-21 and our Under-17 teams, as they prepare for their respective European Championships."
Coming Soon: Independent.ie's new GAA newsletter. Sign up here