Ireland’s Delaney leaves UEFA exco role

By Andrew Warshaw

January 21 – As the Rolling Stones famously sung, it’s all over now.  John Delaney (pictured), the flamboyant Irishman who strode European football’s corridors of power until being forced to resign as chief executive of his federation (FAI) 10 months ago,  has finally given up his position on the UEFA Executive Committee.

Delaney’s time on the decision-making body was due to finish at the end of 2021 but the post had become virtually redundant  in recent months with Delaney, tellingly, not invited to a string of executive committee meetings despite retaining his €160,000 UEFA salary while he was a fully functioning exco member.

In a statement confirming that Delaney is no longer involved, UEFA said: “During his time on the Executive Committee, John Delaney played a leading role in helping UEFA to achieve many things. He was instrumental in the expansion of the EURO to 24 teams, which proved such a success in 2016.

“He was an important figure in the move to centralise the TV rights across national team competitions – something which has benefited all UEFA member associations and which was rolled out into the new UEFA Nations League tournament.”

Delaney resigned as CEO of his national federation last March over a €100,000 personal loan he provided in 2017 that called into question serious governance issues. Although he was moved into a face-saving position as FAI executive vice-president with responsibility for all FIFA and UEFA matters, he was forced to leave that post too in September 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 all the allegations against him, which he denied, Delaney, who reportedly received a staggering €462,000 in his FAI settlement, remained a member of UEFA’s decision-making exco. But not any longer, one reason being he would not have been eligible to run for re-election.

That will be scant consolation, however, for the embattled FAI which has been struggling under €60 million of debt, much of which was built up under the regime of Delaney. A rescue package to save the federation from complete collapse moved a step closer last week following survival talks between Irish officials and UEFA.

Whether Delaney’s fall from grace impacts  on the growing likelihood of a British and Irish 2030 World Cup bid remains to be seen since he had been playing a leading role in presenting the Irish case for sharing the tournament.

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