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John Delaney in the stands at the Aviva Stadium. PA Archive/PA Images
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John Delaney 'is still on the payroll' of FAI - Sport Ireland CEO

John Treacy said it is his understanding that Delaney has stepped aside from the association.

LAST UPDATE | 16 Apr 2019

THE BOARD OF the FAI has told Minister for Sport Shane Ross that all members intend to step down in July.

The announcement was made by Ross at a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport this afternoon.

The meeting also heard from Sport Ireland’s CEO John Treacy, who agreed that the leadership of the FAI was similar to that which pertained in the Olympic Council of Ireland under Pat Hickey.  

Treacy also that said that it is his understanding that John Delaney “is still on the payroll” at the FAI after he offered to step aside from the association yesterday

The announcement that the board of the FAI intends to step down was delivered by way of a letter from FAI president Donal Conway to the minister.  

The board consists of four members: Donal Conway (president), Noel Fitzroy (vice president), Michael Cody (honorary secretary) and Eddie Murray (honorary treasurer).

In a letter to Ross, Conway said that the board will step aside in July at the FAI’s AGM, or beforehand.

“It is our intention that recommendations in relation to restructuring the board will be brought to the membership for their consideration and adoption at our Annual General Meeting in July (or at an Extraordinary General Meeting if the work of the group facilitates an earlier date),” the letter stated.

At that point, when a new structure has been put in place, it is the intention that the existing board will step down to allow for a new board to be constituted in the best interests of football.

In his statement, Ross described the FAI’s appearance before the committee last week as “shambolic”.

“I am pleased to confirm to the committee that in the last few hours, the FAI has written to me, indicating decisive action has been taken,” Ross said.

“I believe that the AGM should be called before the July date,” he added. 

PastedImage-36848 A portion of the letter sent to the minister.

Asked by Noel Rock TD whether any of the current board members would seek re-election when it is being reconstituted, Ross said he was not clear. 

“I got this only letter this morning, I haven’t communicated with anyone about it at all, it came as a surprise to me. So what’s in the letter is in the letter, I can’t really expand on it,” he said.

But my reading of it is the entire board will step down, whether they offer themselves forward for re-election or not is a matter I can’t throw any light on whatsoever. 

The minister was appearing before the committee amid ongoing questions of governance within the FAI. 

It was revealed just prior to the meeting that auditors Deloitte had reported the FAI to the Companies Registration Offices for breaking company law. 

“While it is the case that due process is hugely important, you will not be surprised to hear me say that I have become increasingly concerned with these developments,” Ross told the committee.

Here we have a clear case of the FAI admitting that they failed to abide by the conditions for receipt of State funding. We have had a shambolic appearance by the FAI at this committee last week at which even the most basic questions, for whatever reasons, went unanswered.

PastedImage-97801 Minister for Sport Shane Ross. Oireachtas Oireachtas

CEO of Sport Ireland John Treacy was also speaking before the committee this afternoon. 

Last week, Sport Ireland announced the decision to suspend and withhold future funding to the FAI pending the completion of a review and the adoption of recommendations. 

Speaking today, Treacy said that an agreement has been made with the FAI that Sport Ireland will carry out a “full audit” of the FAI.

Treacy said the review will be “forensic in nature if we need it to be” and “as extensive as we need it to be”.

Treacy said that the tender had been advertised a number of weeks ago to carry out the audit but that it has not been filled yet.

Aviva Stadium in Dublin The Aviva Stadiu in Dublin. PA Images PA Images

Reading out portions of the Moran report into the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), Catherine Murphy TD said that particular organisation has seen “a complete turnaround”.

“Pat Hickey’s leadership style was categorised by strong personal control over decision-making, it was an autocratic style of leadership. There was an over dependance on the power of one individual,” Murphy said, asking Treacy whether the same could be said of the FAI.

“They are very similar, they are very similar, strong personality leading the organisation. And this is probably one of the issues that we’ve discussed with the FAI in recent times,” Treacy said.

The impression that was out there was that the FAI board were following, as opposed the leading the organisation. That sort of regime needs to be reversed.  

Treacy later agreed that the OCI has seen a complete turnaround in its operations.  

“That organisation has totally and utterly transformed itself in a short period of time,” Treacy said. “Sometimes an organisation needs to put new people in to move on.”

PastedImage-55787 John Treacy, CEO Sport Ireland


Under questioning from deputy Rock about Delaney’s announcement yesterday, Treacy said it is his understanding that his offer to stand aside has been accepted. 

Delaney departed his role as FAI CEO on 23 March but immediately moved into a newly-created position of executive vice-president.

Yesterday, he offered to step aside from that role pending the completion of an independent investigation but there had been some confusion over whether this offer had been accepted by the board of the FAI. 

Treacy said it is his understanding that it has.

“I don’t really know what is going on, I know he has voluntarily stepped aside, from what I gather. I believe he is still on the payroll when this investigation by Mazars is going on. That’s as much as I know,” Treacy said.

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