Wednesday 16 October 2019

'We are at the end of a disgraceful era' - Brian Kerr's brutal assessment of John Delaney's FAI legacy

Brian Kerr is pictured talking about John Delaney and the FAI on Virgin Media Sport
Brian Kerr is pictured talking about John Delaney and the FAI on Virgin Media Sport
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Brian Kerr has offered up a damning reflection of the John Delaney era at the Football Association of Ireland, as he vented his anger at the shattered legacy of the departed Executive Vice-President. 

Delaney's departure from FAI was confirmed in a late-night message on Saturday, as they confirmed a settlement had been reached that will include pension payments to the organisation's former CEO.

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Speaking on Virgin Media Sport ahead of their coverage of the Champions League, former Ireland manager Kerr didn't hold back as he spoke passionately about the legacy Delaney has left behind.

"I think we are just at the end of a disgraceful era, as far as I'm concerned," declared Kerr. "There was massive reputational damage to football in Ireland, to the association and even ordinary people who are involved in the game have had to take a lot of stick.

"It appears that him (Delaney) and the rest of them that were involved on the board have left behind a complete financial shambles. We don't know the extent of that financial shambles yet until we hear the results of some of the reports.

"They've left behind a staff whose morale is at a very low ebb due to how that have been treated. Some brilliant people were discarded over time and they have found that their pensions were not even paid properly.

John Delaney. Photo: Sportsfile
John Delaney. Photo: Sportsfile

"Yet there appears to have been a big settlement to ensure that John's pension was paid up properly.

"The programmes for underage development were all badly resourced during this period of austerity that was overseen by this regime and I think the game has suffered for that.

"The League of Ireland has suffered, the grounds haven't advanced, the prizes for teams winning the league or the FAI Cup are abysmal. 

"The two qualifications for France (Euro 2016) and Poland (Euro 2012) covered up a lot of problems. I and many others have said for years and years that the organisation lacked leadership and that has now been exposed. 

"It was sad the way it came about. They went into the government buildings and had a chance to explain their stewardship and they decided to shut up shop and hide behind lawyers. 

"Thanks to the brilliant journalism that has taken place over the last while, we now have an idea of what was actually going on during this time.

"Many of us suspected a lot of what was going on. We didn't know the full extent of it, but the game has suffered really, really badly through this era and will continue to suffer."

When asked by Virgin Media Sport host Tommy Martin whether he expected the FAI to be reformed following Delaney's departure, Kerr sounded some notes of caution.

"The opportunity is there, but we need a new broom. We haven't got a new broom," he added. "We have a couple of the same directors still around and some good people from within the game have emerged on the board.

"There seems to be an emphasis on retaining some power from the previous board. They shouldn't have power.

"The chairman of the football management committee, which is supposed to be a key committee for the future of the game, has no football people on it.

"They should have went for some outside expertise in football administration at a high level or management and coaching at a high level to chair that committee.

"We will get a new chairman and a new CEO and hopefully that will give it a new flavour. Hopefully then we can start to get the proper funding and respect in the game again."

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