Former FAI chief Rooney says many involved have 'gone beyond their sell-by date'

Former FAI chief Rooney says many involved have 'gone beyond their sell-by date'
Fran Rooney in 2004. Picture: Sportsfile

A former chief executive of the FAI, Fran Rooney, says that many of the people involved in running the association have “gone beyond their sell-by date”.

Good corporate governance would suggest that after six years people should move, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

He pointed out that despite a recommendation in the Genesis Report in 2002 about regularly changing personnel, “there has been very little turnover”.

Mr Rooney said that retirement dates had been adjusted for some people so they could stay beyond their original terms of office.

The FAI is a publicly funded body. "This is taxpayers’ money”, he said, adding that how that money is being spent should be discussed immediately.

Referring to the €100,000 bridging loan given to the FAI by former CEO John Delaney, Mr Rooney said that to do something that appears to be hiding a transaction, and then to try to have the matter “obliterated from the record” through a court injunction should be a cause for alarm, he said.

“These are very serious issues that need to be addressed. Questions need to be answered,” he added.

Mr Rooney said that recent revelations in relation to the €100,000 loan by Mr Delaney to the FAI and the issue of his rent being paid will have caused considerable disquiet for the public.

“This goes beyond John Delaney...There are questions for the entire board.”

The Genesis Report in 2002 proposed sweeping changes in the way the FAI is run, managed and structured in a bid to bring it up to the standard of a modern-day sporting organisation. The report was commissioned by the FAI as an independent root-and-branch examination of the Mick McCarthy/Roy Keane row in Saipan and the structure of the association.

Meanwhile, the Chair of the Oireachtas Sport Committee says its questioning of John Delaney will not be a witch hunt.

John Delaney
John Delaney

Mr Delaney stepped down as FAI chief executive at the weekend and will take up a new role with a lower salary.

He is due to appear before the committee next month, which is expected to ask questions about the €100,000 loan he paid to the FAI, and which was repaid later that year, as well as reports that the organisation has been paying his rent for the last number of years.

Committee chairperson Fergus O'Dowd said they will be looking at the overall governance of the FAI.

"It's not about John Delaney and it's not a witchhunt. And I have to be very clear on that," said Mr O'Dowd.

"The Oireachtas job is to look at the governance, John Delaney is a key player in that but it's about how it was managed."

The Irish Examiner reported on Monday that it is believed Mr Delaney will receive a six-figure salary in his new role as executive vice-president.

Mr Delaney will be part of the FAI delegation due before the Oireachtas sports committee next month, it was confirmed yesterday.

In a statement, the national soccer body claimed Mr Delaney will be paid “substantially less than the salary he previously received as CEO”, which was €360,000.

It is understood his salary in the new role will be in the region of €120,000, but the FAI would not confirm or deny this figure.

- Additional reporting by Digital Desk

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