Further details of the cut — which was exclusively revealed in the Irish Examiner last week — came out yesterday at the official launch of the Europa League final in Dublin, when Trapattoni confirmed the reduction and FAI boss John Delaney explained how the deal was struck.
Said Delaney: “I met him in Milan, maybe a couple of weeks ago, to discuss a range of issues. It was one of the topics we discussed. He said that the next time he came to Ireland, he would make it clear that he was taking a wage cut. And he felt it was important that he would do so. So I am glad that he is here today and that he can inform the media and the Irish public as well.”
Asked if the FAI asked the manager to take the cut, Delaney said it could be fairly described as “voluntary”, adding: “It was a mutual thing. It was not something forced by either party. It was discussed. That is the type of relationship he has with the association. And it was very simply agreed, I think maybe in 30 seconds, to be honest with you.”
Delaney declined to specify the precise amount of the pay cut, but he did reveal that it was “in excess of 5%”, which would suggest that the manager has taken a six-figure hit. His back-up team, including Marco Tardelli and fitness coach Fausto Rossi, have also taken a cut.
Confirming the news yesterday, Trapattoni said: “I know the situation here in Ireland. Also in Italy. John spoke with me and said: ‘The FAI has a problem, what do you think about a reduction in your agreement?’ I think this is the right thing to do.”
Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport Mary Hanafin welcomed the manager’s decision.
“I do,” she said. “There are people in this country in sport who are earning over half a million — €1.8m in Giovanni Trapattoni’s case — and there’s absolutely no justification for those high levels at all, for anybody.”
Delaney also reaffirmed he has taken a pay cut but, beyond confirming it is in excess of 5%, wouldn’t be specific.
“I am not going to get into who earns what,” he said. “It’s for me to report to the board in terms of my salary and what they have offered me. I will reveal at some stage what it is. But it is a significant reduction and one that is the greatest reduction in the association. And it should be that way.”
News of a reduction in Giovanni Trapattoni’s wages comes against the backdrop of recent cuts across the board at the FAI, a dozen redundancies and the shock news that the contract of Technical Director Packie Bonner will be not renewed when it expires at the end of December.
And Sports Minister Mary Hanafin yesterday fired a shot across the bows of the FAI over the loss of the iconic Donegal man.
Asked if she was disappointed that Bonner was leaving the association, she replied: “Extremely. I think Packie Bonner is a great role model. He was not only a wonderful player but a very supportive, articulate man who was able to bring the sport to young people and children all over the country. He is a wonderful role model and I believe the FAI should find a role for him. I have mentioned this to (John Delaney), yes I have.”
But Delaney himself appeared to rule out a new role for the legendary Irish goalkeeper in Abbotstown.
“Packie did very good work for the FAI over the last eight years,” he observed.
“That said, we have an international performance director in Wim Koevermans and we have a very good technical team, good unit managers and good development officers in almost every county. So the good work is continuing.”
In other news arising out of yesterday’s launch, Trapattoni said that he would have no problem selecting Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane in the future should rumours of a possible move for the out-of-favour Spurs striker to America’s MLS bear fruit.
“It is only a flight of a few hours,” said the manager.
And Michael van Praag, a member of UEFA’s Executive Committee, did not rule out the possibility that Croke Park might some day host a Champions League final, a fixture whose minimum capacity requirement of 60,000 rules out Aviva Stadium.
“Why not?” he said. “I don’t know the specifics of this stadium but it is the wish of UEFA that these games take place not only in the big associations but in small countries like Ireland.”