Irish serve volley of tennis balls to protest Delaney still being in play

March 27 – Irish fans disrupted a Euro 2020 qualifier against Georgia on Tuesday by throwing tennis balls onto the pitch in protest at John Delaney’s continued role as a senior executive in the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

Conor Hourihane’s first senior international goal handed the Republic of Ireland a deserved 1-0 win but in a rare demonstration against a federation official rather than a coach, Irish fans were just as interested in showing their displeasure about Delaney’s position with play held up for three minutes late in the first half as stewards cleared away dozens of tennis balls.

Delaney is due to appear before lawmakers on April 10 to explain a $113,000 personal loan provided to the FAI two years ago to help them with an apparent short-term cash flow issue.

The story broke 10 days ago after Delaney failed with a court application to prevent publication by a Sunday newspaper.

Shortly afterwards he stepped aside from his role as chief executive and instead took on a new position as executive vice-president. In his new role, Delaney, a member of UEFA’s executive committee, will have responsibility for all FIFA and UEFA matters.

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