By Andrew Warshaw
December 13 – John Delaney, the flamboyant Irishman who strode European football’s corridors of power until being forced to resign as chief executive of his federation (FAI) in March, is still a member of UEFA’s inner circle despite the FAI being in financial meltdown.
Delaney’s colourful and controversial career as an influential voice in European football administration took a potential lethal blow nine months ago when he 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 a €100,000 personal loan he provided in 2017 that called into question serious governance issues.
Delaney moved straight into a face-saving position as FAI executive vice-president with responsibility for all FIFA and UEFA matters but left that post too just a month later in the wake of a report in the Sunday Times newspaper that claimed 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.
Despite damning allegations against him, Delaney remains a member of UEFA’s decision-making executive committee with no immediate sign of being replaced since his post is due to run until 2021.
With the FAI heavily in debt and in major risk of insolvency, Irish football commentators were scathing this week over how the FAI board allowed Delaney to act with impunity during his time as CEO of the association.
“It’s scandalous, it’s despicable what’s gone on,” former Irish midfield legend Liam Brady told RTÉ.
The FAI recently revealed that it has liabilities of more than €55 million yet Delaney, who reportedly received a staggering €462,000 in a settlement figure, has yet to be struck off UEFA’s exco to which he was elected in 2017.
A UEFA spokesman told Insideworldfootball that the organisation was “awaiting the outcome of the relevant inquiries” though making it clear that although he is still technically an executive committee member, Delaney has not been invited to any exco or other committees for some time given the gravity of his situation.
As previously reported, Delaney’s fall from grace could also potentially impact on the growing likelihood of a British and Irish 2030 World Cup bid since he had been playing a leading role in presenting the Irish case for sharing the tournament.
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