John Delaney says new FAI position created in response to 'impossible' workload

John Delaney says new FAI position created in response to 'impossible' workload

Former FAI CEO John Delaney has said that his new position in the governing body was created due to the impossible workload.

Mr Delaney stepped down as CEO of the FAI last month to take up a new role as Executive Vice President.

Mr Delaney and the FAI have been surrounded in controversy in recent weeks after the Sunday Times revealed the former CEO loaned the organisation €100,000.

The FAI said the bridging loan was paid in April 2017 and "was required to aid cash flow on that occasion and was repaid in full to John Delaney by the Association in June 2017."

Sport Ireland will warn later today that the FAI has yet to “sufficiently” explain why it was given a €100,000 loan by Mr Delaney.

John Delaney
John Delaney

Sport Ireland will raise its ongoing concerns during a Dáil meeting this afternoon.

Speaking to Tipp FM's Extra Time Junior Football podcast, Mr Delaney outlined some of the work he would be doing going forward and said his old position was too much work for one person to do.

When asked to discuss the challenges in his new role, Mr Delaney said he was looking forward to it.

"The way it's been with the association over the last number of years...in my own personal case I've been trying to attend grassroots football functions and games every weekend," said Mr Delaney.

"And I've given my life to that and I love it. I get great energy out of it. I love helping the clubs, I love meeting the volunteers. I love grassroots people.

"And then during the week, there is an organisation with a turnover of €50m and 200 staff, so it is a huge organisation now.

"And then there's a huge international dimension. I'm on the board of UEFA as it is but apart from that, there is a feasibility study to do a World Cup bid with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are meetings in England next week on that and that's making significant progress.

"There is an U21 bid for the U21 Euros with Northern Ireland in 2023. It's amazing that that round ball, the football, can unite two associations in that regard.

"There are centralised television deals to be done. We're starting that process of negotiating that with UEFA, which is a lot of money for the FAI, which then means a lot of money for grassroots football and other projects.

"And I could go on. There is the generation of revenue in other parts of the world like in America and Australia, the Irish diaspora, which we've never really looked at yet.

"They're just a snapshot of the projects that I'm now turning my attention to. And it really was impossible to do the three jobs I've laid out to you for one person.

"That's why the association commissioned an independent report to split the duties."

An FAI statement last month confirmed that the report was commissioned in February and was carried out by "sports governance expert Jonathan Hall Associates".

John Delaney
John Delaney

The statement read: "The report recommends that the FAI considers creating a new role of Executive Vice-President and starts the process of appointing a new Chief Executive Officer in order to put itself in the best position possible for the strategic period ahead.

"The report states: 'The new role of Executive Vice-President would be a specific, defined role with responsibility for a range of international matters and special projects on behalf of the FAI. It is envisaged that the current CEO [Mr Delaney] would step into this new role. This would allow Irish football to continue to benefit from his extensive football experience and contacts across Europe and the rest of the world."

The FAI outlined its vision for the role in that release, saying: "The responsibilities of the new Executive Vice-President include all FIFA and UEFA matters including membership of the UEFA Executive Committee, all FAI tournament bidding projects, international relations and support, the John Giles Foundation, membership of the Board of the Aviva Stadium, planning for the centenary of the FAI and the 50th anniversary of women’s football in Ireland in 2023 and a bid to host the UEFA Women’s Champions League final in Dublin.

"The new Executive Vice-President will also work on special projects as agreed by the Board and the new Chief Executive and will be available to the CEO for assistance."

Last month, the administrators of the four provincial football associations backed Mr Delaney's tenure as FAI CEO.

They praised the “contribution of Mr Delaney to the grassroots game".

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