By Andrew Warshaw
September 30 – John Delaney is under growing pressure to resign from his reported €160,000-a-year UEFA executive committee post after stepping down as Executive Vice President of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) with immediate effect, finally severing links with his federation after a colourful and controversial career.
In March Delaney, who in his heyday was one of the most influential voices in European football administration, dramatically quit as the FAI’s chief executive just days before he was due to appear in front of a parliamentary committee to be quizzed about an unauthorised €100,000 personal loan to his employers.
To save face, his federation allowed him to move into a new position as executive vice-president with responsibility for all FIFA and UEFA matters but that role has now gone too, with unconfirmed Irish reports suggesting he left with a €350,000 exit package after 14 years with the federation.
While this does not legally mean Delaney has to quit UEFA, it is being strongly rumoured that the UEFA hierarchy, conscious of the organisation remaining scandal-free and not going down the same road as FIFA, will work behind the scenes to remove Delaney from the top table. Shortly after he quit as CEO in March, the Sunday Times newspaper, which first reported details of the loan, increased the pressure by claiming he spent almost €40,000 on his work credit card in the space of six months shortly before he personally bailed out his federation. The payments allegedly included duty-free purchases, meals in Delaney’s local pub and cash withdrawals of more than €6,000.
Ireland’s state corporate watchdog began legal proceedings against the FAI in May after the federation acknowledged it had broken state funding rules.
With state finding suspended pending the results on an ongoing investigation into the FAI’s finances, Ireland Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross welcomed Delaney’s resignation but said he wanted to see a total regime change.
“It’s not good enough to chop off one head and save the rest of them. We’ve got to see root and branch reform,” he told Irish media.
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