Saturday 24 March 2018

No comment from FAI over €400k salary to John Delaney when club grants cut

John Delaney with fans in Sopot, Poland
John Delaney with fans in Sopot, Poland

FOOTBALL Association of Ireland chief John Delaney was paid €400,000 in 2011 – twice the salary of the Taoiseach and €151,000 more than President Michael D Higgins.

The FAI and Mr Delaney were today unavailable for comment on the revelation, published in the Irish Times.

The annual accounts also show that the FAI cut grant aid paid to clubs and leagues around the country by €377,000 last year due to the costs of paying down debt from the development of the Aviva Stadium.

However, turnover rose by €5.8 million thanks to the large attendances at Ireland’s Euro 2012 qualifiers against Armenia and Estonia.

Mr Delaney (44) became chief executive of the FAI in 2005 and in July 2010 his contract was extended to 2015.

He took a 7.2pc pay cut last year – down from €431,687 in 2010 – but it was less than the average reduction in salaries for FAI staff.

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 of the Sunday Independent 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.

He said: "Every morning we had a meeting at 9.0am when we were away in Montecatini, in Hungary and in Poland. We did our stuff really well. I met with Robbie Keane and [Giovanni] Trapattoni every three or four days and we went through all the issues.

"We worked very, very hard. And if I had a night out, with family, my sister was over there, my brother-in-law and some friends, I think that's something I'm entitled to do on the odd occasion when I'm there."

Mr Delaney rejected the suggestion that the footage of him had damaged the reputation of him or the association, insisting that, 10 years on from Saipan, ensuring there was no repeat of that debacle was the objective of the FAI and one which they achieved.

He has been supported by the Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni who, when asked about the chief-executive's "over-indulging", defended him by saying that drink was part of Irish culture.

Mr Delaney also explained the truth behind the story that he ended up with his shoes being stolen after one night out in Sopot.

"I'm coming home, two hundred lads see me, they lift me up and they carry me up and lift me head-high to my hotel and they sing 'Shoes off for the Boys in Green'. And they handed me my shoes back and they handed me my socks back. Simple as that," he told the Sunday Independent.

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