Wednesday 22 November 2017

FAI chief earns €250k more than Spain and Italy rivals

John Delaney, Antonello Valentini of Italy and Angel Maria Villar of Spain


FAI chief John Delaney earns €250,000 more than the soccer chiefs in Euro 2012 championship winners Spain and the runners-up Italy, it has emerged.

Angel Maria Villar, who is Spain’s football boss, earns €152,000 a year and the FA boss in Italy , Antonello Valentini is on a salary of €150,000, the Irish Daily Star reports today.

Combined their annual salaries come to €302,000 – that’s €98,000 less than Mr Delaney (44) who earns €400,000 a year.

Italy won the World Cup in 2006 and Spain won it in 2010 while Ireland was the first team knocked out of Euro 2012.

The Irish Times pointed out yesterday that he is paid twice the salary of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and €151,000 more than President Michael D. Higgins.

Meanwhile, the FAI last night denied it had cut grants to clubs and leagues by €377,000 in 2011.

This figure was contained in an Irish Times report which said it had obtained a copy of the association's accounts to be presented to the AGM on July 21.

Mr Delaney’s €400,000 salary in 2011 was 7.2pc less than the €431,687 he earned in the previous year.

Whether the 'football family', as represented by the delegates to attend the FAI AGM, will have any issue with the chief executive's salary remains to be seen.

No comment was forthcoming from the FAI on the salary amounts mentioned, but a brief statement refuted the notion that grants had been reduced in 2011, stating: "The FAI has not cut club grants by €377,000 between 2011 and 2010.

"In reality, the grants paid out amounted to €1.2m in both 2010 and 2011 and this can be vouched by the independent auditors.

"Under the relevant line item (development and operating grants to affiliates), the accounts show a lower amount in 2011 due to an accrual or over provision reported in the 2010 accounts which was actually paid out to clubs and leagues in 2011. This can also be vouched by the independent auditors."

The report said that FAI turnover rose last year to €45m, up by €5.8m on 2010, but that the association's surplus, or profit, declined by just under 20pc to €1.17m.

Mr Delaney's most recent public comment on his salary was in a Sunday Independent interview on June 24. Asked if his salary was something that has to be addressed again, he replied: "Well, prior to taking the role I was a volunteer. I put a lot of money into Waterford United football club, as did my father in the past.

"Before I took the role, I was paid more than I'm paid now. I've been offered jobs since I've taken this role. I know I'm paid well, I accept that. I work very hard for that. Most people would accept that -- it's 24/7.

"I signed a contract that was put in front of me. I took a wage reduction in the past. If I had to do it again, I'd do it in the future."

He was then asked: "But would you volunteer one? (a wage cut)", and he replied: "If I have to take a wage cut in the future, I'll take it, simple as that."

There is concern within soccer circles about the FAI debt on the Aviva Stadium, but in that same interview Mr Delaney repeated his confidence that it would be cleared within eight years.

"To talk about the debt of the Aviva is, you know... we had to find €95m for that stadium, and we owe €50m to our funding partners on that. And that will be clear by 2020," he said.

Mr Delaney came in for some criticism for his socialising with Irish fans in Poland at Euro 2012 last month.

He told journalist Dion Fanning that he took “grave offence” at criticism of his behaviour and insisted that he was “entitled” to a night out.

In a wide-ranging interview, he refused to answer other questions about his socialising in Sopot, complaining that the association's good work at the tournament, at which Ireland failed to claim a single point, was being overlooked while his night-time behaviour was being highlighted. "I think that's something I'm entitled to do on the odd occasion when I'm there," he said.

He pointed out that the tournament had been a success from an administrative point of view.

"We've organised a tournament that was pretty faultless administratively and that's the key role and that's what we've achieved," he said.

He said he would discuss his socialising in Sopot, which has resulted in several unflattering pictures and videos appearing on Twitter and YouTube, with the FAI board of management if requested, but insisted nobody had asked any questions over his behaviour.

Irish Independent

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