Monday 14 October 2019

UEFA silence on John Delaney role in U-17 European Championships in Ireland

John Delaney pictured leaving the Carlton Hotel near Dublin Airport following a meeting with the FAI. Photo: Steve Humphreys
John Delaney pictured leaving the Carlton Hotel near Dublin Airport following a meeting with the FAI. Photo: Steve Humphreys
John Delaney. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

UEFA have refused to confirm if John Delaney will be appearing at the forthcoming European U-17 Championships in Ireland.

Delaney is currently sidelined from FAI duty while a new Abbotstown hierarchy deals with ongoing investigations arising from a turbulent month for the game here dating back to the emergence of his €100,000 bridging loan in 2017.

He is effectively on gardening leave from his new post as executive vice president, a role where the brief includes responsibility for FIFA and UEFA affairs.

However, the Waterford man has retained his place on the Executive Committee of UEFA - although European football's governing body have refused to offer comment on the 51-year-old's standing in light of revelations about his time with the FAI.

He is the chair of the UEFA Youth and Amateur Football and would be expected to be the forefront of proceedings for the U-17 competition which takes place between May 3 and May 19.

Delaney was the main UEFA representative at the tournament draw at the Aviva Stadium earlier this month.

That was before he "voluntarily stepped aside" from his FAI post.

UEFA have since failed to respond to queries from the Irish Independent about what this means for his involvement in the U-17 formalities.

FAI board members are uncomfortable with the idea of Delaney appearing on Irish soil in a UEFA capacity while they are dealing with pressing domestic matters.

More clarity is expected on the path forward this weekend with the FAI expected to outline timelines on the work of a Governance Review Group tasked with plotting a path towards a general meeting where the board steps down and a new power structure will be discussed.

The review group is a partnership between the FAI and Sport Ireland. FIFA are keeping an eye on the Irish situation because of their rules on government interference in football affairs.

Meanwhile, St Patrick's Athletic are €240,000 better off after it was confirmed they will be taking a European place at the expense of Waterford.

The Blues learned last week that they would not qualify for a UEFA licence because of the criteria on clubs that are less than three years old.

Waterford owner Lee Power formed a new trading company when he took over in the winter of 2016, but UEFA were not satisfied that all loose ends were tied up - a point that was also made by St Pat's in a letter of objection.

Power has explored legal avenues as Waterford had banked on the European money and included it in their budget after positive discussions with the FAI about their chances of receiving the green light.

Elsewhere, Shane Long has admitted he needs to find consistency if he is to earn a new deal at Southampton which expires in just over a year's time.

"It's hard to validate giving a new deal out if you aren't getting the goals or the results," said Long after scoring Premier League's quickest ever goal on Tuesday. "If it's not to be then I will look to pastures new, but I don't want that."

Irish Independent

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