John Delaney believed to have secured €500k exit deal from FAI
Uefa now expected to seek Delaney’s resignation from Executive Committee
John Delaney’s time with the FAI has ended after the board announced his departure late on Saturday night. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
John Delaney is believed to have secured a deal worth around €500,000 to resign his position with the FAI and finally end his involvement with an organisation whose affairs he completely dominated for a decade and a half.
Uefa are now expected seek his resignation from that organisation’s Executive Committee, effectively its board, although it is not clear at this stage whether that too will require a financial settlement with the 52-year-old.
Delaney’s departure from the association here was, like his previous move from chief executive to “executive vice-president” confirmed in a late night press release from his former employers. Few details were provided and it was stated that the two sides had agreed not to make any comment on the matter.
The precise value or structure of the deal is not yet known but it is understood that the association has agreed a package worth roughly €500,000, a considerable portion of which, as the statement suggests, is made up of contributions to Delaney’s pension fund.
That figure would amount to just about 18 months basic salary for the long-time chief executive, who was paid €360,000 plus very substantial expenses and allowances including, for a prolonged period, the €3,000 per month that his rented accommodation cost.
The figure would, on the face of it, be slightly above the higher end of what experts in employment law have suggested is the normal range of settlements in cases like these, with deals normally coming in at a figure of between nine and 15 months’ salary.
The association’s case against Delaney is likely to have been weakened, however, by the compliance of the board that was supposed to dictate the terms of his employment and oversee his work during the 15 years in which he held the organisation’s top job, but which seems, instead, to have become largely subservient to him.
There was also the fact that he had secured a bonus clause entitling him to €2 million in the event that he stayed with the association until 2021. One senior barrister working in this area of law felt that he would have no real hope of relying on that deal after all that had emerged regarding the way the association had been managed during his time in charge and the account of his expenses published in The Sunday Times earlier this year. But it would almost certainly have been a factor in any court action he might have taken in the event that he had simply been dismissed.
In the end, the prevailing view within the FAI was that as long as the figure was not exorbitant, it was better to pay him off to avoid the threat of what could have been a hugely costly dispute and move on free from the shadow he continued to cast over the organisation. The deal also puts an end to a period of “gardening leave” that had already cost it around €175,000 in salary payments.
How the scale of the settlement will be received in Government circles is not yet known but his departure was certainly widely welcomed by prominent figures within Irish football on Saturday evening and Sunday morning with Mike Treacy, the American chairman of league champions Dundalk among those tweeting that the announcement was “great news”.
Delaney’s remaining link to the high-level game, his seat at Uefa’s top table, is now also expected to be severed. The Irishman had been elected in April 2017 having positioned himself as an early supporter of Aleksandr Ceferin, the little known Slovenian who had won the presidency the previous year.
Over the past six months, however, he has been completely marginalised at European level and did not even attend the women’s World Cup or Under-17 European Championships, staged here in Dublin, in an official capacity despite holding prominent positions on the relevant Uefa committees.
The organisation had not invited him to attend recent ExCo meetings and is understood to have been awaiting the resolution of his position at the FAI before proceeding to terminate his membership of the board.
That may yet involve another settlement with Delaney believed to have been on around €160,000 per year and his term still having a couple of years to run. All told, though, it has been a disastrous fall for a man who stood to make around €3 million in that period and is said to have demanded the best part of that to walk away from the FAI back in April.