John Delaney might prefer it if questions regarding his salary were put to bed, but the FAI’s chief executive’s remuneration package returned to the spotlight for the second time in under a week yesterday.
Last Monday, the man himself was quizzed on the issue during a wide-ranging interview on RTÉ radio, but he wasn’t even in Leinster House this time when Public Accounts Committee (PAC) member Robert Dowds raised the subject.
The Labour TD described Delaney’s salary of €360,000 as “an inordinate sum” and pointed out it was almost twice that received by Taoiseach Enda Kenny during a committee hearing about the expenditure of the Irish Sports Council (ISC).
The issue was raised early on in a three-hour sessions when the ISC’s own chief executive, John Treacy, was asked by Dowd if his organisation had in any way contributed to the funding of Delaney’s salary.
“The salary is a matter for the chief executive and the board of the FAI,” Treacy responded. “We are very careful and clear that any of our funding is not to go to the salaries of executives.
“We are very clear that any funding we give is going to the salaries of the underage programmes and that’s where the policy direction is. We are not providing any funding in relation to any CEO’s salary.”
Delaney’s salary has been under the spotlight on numerous occasions, although the Waterford man has regularly pointed out that it has been cut more than once and that he has received job offers that would have paid considerably more.
He recently signed a new deal with the association that will keep him in his current role through to 2020.
Dowd was also critical of the FAI as an organisation which, he declared, seemed to be the “least well organised” of the three main field sports: rugby and Gaelic games being the other two.
The Dublin Mid West TD suggested football clubs tended to “come and go”. Treacy pointed out that the ISC contributed to the FAI’s backing of the Airtricity League through its capital funding and also made a case for the football body’s work elsewhere.
“Traditionally, the FAI clubs were set up in parks around the country and they wouldn’t follow the tradition of the other two field sports, the GAA and the IRFU, that would have their own built facilities.
“They were a bit weaker but, insaying that, the FAI work relentlessly in socially deprived areas and get into areas that other organisations can’t go near.”
Treacy also defended the volume of public funds handed out to the FAI, GAA and IRFU in recent years, claiming that the “taxpayer gets very good value for money” from the three most popular field sports in the country.
The former Olympic silver medallist added it was government policy to support those three organisations which had suffered a combined 40% cut in their public funding since 2007, compared to an average overall drop of 25% in the sports sector.
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