Surprise as John Delaney steps down as OCI vice-president

FAI chief confident investigation will find he had no role in Rio ticketing arrangements

John Delaney and his partner Emma English with Pat Hickey. Photograph: Getty

FAI chief executive John Delaney has resigned from his position as second vice president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI).

Mr Delaney informed the OCI board yesterday evening and said he was confident the two investigations being carried out into the OCI constitution and ticketing practices during the Rio Olympics would find he had no involvement in the ticketing arrangements.

Mr Delaney said he was fully involved with the investigations and “always looked after the best interests of the Olympic movement”. He added that because of his role in running Irish football he was unable to attend all the OCI board meetings.

“As an executive committee member of the OCI, my role was never active in the day-to-day running of the OCI. I was in a position to attend only five of the last 13 board meetings prior to Rio,” he said.


The FAI chief said he worked hard with other OCI members to ensure that all proper steps were taken by the OCI following the ticketing issues that arose in Rio involving OCI president Pat Hickey.

“I have fully engaged and co-operated with investigations being carried out by Grant Thornton, who were appointed to review ticketing arrangements, and Deloitte, whose brief is to examine governance issues within the OCI,” he said.

The decision comes as a surprise because as recently as August the 49-year-old was tipped by Mr Hickey to take over from him when he stepped down.

Mr Hickey has since stepped aside from the president’s role pending a police investigation in Brazil. He is currently on bail facing charges including criminal organisation, ticket touting, larceny, money laundering and tax evasion following his arrest during the Olympics. He denies the charges.


On August 26th, the OCI appointed Grant Thornton to conduct an independent review of its handling of ticketing for the Games. The review was to be given to Judge Carroll Moran who was appointed by the Government to conduct a non-statutory inquiry into the affair.

On September 9th, an OCI sub-committee appointed Deloitte to conduct an independent review of governance.

Mr Delaney said he expected that his “non-involvement in these matters will be independently verified on completion of reports”.Willie O’Brien, acting president of the OCI, said he “accepted with regret the resignation” of Mr Delaney. “I would like to thank John for his hard work and dedication.”

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times