Crash and burned: calls grow for Irish FA board to step down after Delaney issue

April 25 – Brendan Menton, a former general secretary of the Irish Football Association (FAI), has called for the entire current board of directors to step down following the recent scandal involving chief executive John Delaney.

Delaney’s colourful and controversial career as an influential voice in European football administration is hanging by a thread after the FAI announced he had offered to step aside as its executive vice-president with immediate effect amid increasing criticism over an authorised loan he provided in 2017 that called into question serious governance issues.

Last month Delaney, a member of UEFA’s executive committee, dramatically quit as the FAI’s chief executive just days before he appeared in front of a parliamentary committee to be quizzed about the €100,000 personal loan and instead moved straight into a face-saving position as executive vice-president with responsibility for all FIFA and UEFA matters.

But with half of the federation’s €2.7 million state funding suspended in the wake of the storm, Delaney has hardly had time to take up his newly created job.

Benton, who was FAI general secretary and treasurer for two years until 2002 and currently works with the Asian Football Confederation, has written a hard-hitting piece in the Irish Times newspaper in which he compared the current crisis to emperor Nero who stood aside while Rome burned.

“They have failed. They need to be removed for good,” said of the current FAI regime. “They remind me of Nero; they have imbibed (power) while Irish football has crashed and burned.”

“There has been a systematic undermining of policies and procedures in the FAI in recent years. The FAI board has allowed itself to be emasculated. The FAI’s governance and financial controls are a shadow of those that existed previously.”

Benton would like FAI President Donal Conway to go to FIFA and explain the situation.

“Please, show leadership and in the interests of Irish football, go to FIFA, explain the situation and all the investigations under way and ask them to establish a normalisation committee for Ireland for a period of 15 months. If the appropriate people are appointed to such a committee, it would lead to the best outcome for Irish football.”

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