Who is going to hold the FAI a...


Who is going to hold the FAI and John Delaney to account?

Darren Cleary
Darren Cleary

02:06 25 Mar 2019

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The day John Delaney departed his post as CEO of the FAI promised to bring about a seismic shift in Irish sport.

The most powerful and well-paid sport administrator in Ireland surrendering what Brian Kerr described as a ‘vice like’ grip on the organisation that administer's the people’s game in Ireland.

48 hours on from the wordy press release announcing that Delaney was stepping down as CEO to take up the role of Executive Vice President, where he will reportedly receive a salary in the region of €120,000, much still remains unsaid.

The sea change fans hoped for is little more than a false dawn. One thing that seems certain is that Delaney’s new gig is not a demotion, rather it looks like an attempt to sidestep the scrutiny that has come with recent revelations.

The pressure continues to mount as external forces demand answers to how an organisation in receipt of huge swathes of government funding find themselves turning to their CEO for a dig out.

Nathan Murphy joined Ger and Eoin on Monday’s OTB AM to discuss the issues.

Over the course of the last decade, with Delaney at the helm, the FAI has received almost €50 million from the State in funding, handed down by Sport Ireland and four government departments.

As the FAI faces a crisis in confidence from the public, transparency and trust - or the lack thereof - appear to be the most pressing matters at hand for the embattled organisation.

In November 2018, Delaney swatted away questions about the governance of the FAI: “We are more transparent than anyone else. My salary has always been made public.

Pressure mounts as fans demand answers from John Delaney and the FAI

“Other sports bodies, for their own reasons, choose not to reveal their CEOs' salaries.

“I’m probably one of the very few whose salary does get disclosed.”

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy, who is a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport has been trying to get the FAI to appear before them for the best part of the last 6 months.

On the FAI, she said: “Of all the major sporting ­bodies, the FAI is the most secretive.”

How and why are the most pertinent questions, Sport Ireland have facilitated €34,971,335 in grants to the FAI since 2008.

The FAI have also benefited from funding from the Department of Sport of €1.694 million for the development of sports facilities, through the sports capital programme.

€2.8 million has come from Department of Children and Youth Affairs, €1.137 million was handed to them by Department of Justice in that time. It all begs the question how did the association find itself needing a bridging loan from its highest paid employee?

Why was this not noted in the published accounts? What is the nature of Delaney’s new role? What powers, privileges and responsibilities will they give Delaney? Why did the FAI pay his rent when staff members were fighting to restore wages after successive pay cuts?

The answers my friend, were not blowing in the wind in the Gibraltar. Delaney is hopeful he can weather the storm. However the toughest days may be still to come with pundits, sporting bodies and politicians all banging down the door looking for answers.

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