John Delaney paid €50,000 to FAI in 2018 to keep show on the road
Payment was part of €650,000 ‘investment’ in addition to former CEO’s €100,000 loan
Former FAI CEO John Delaney: The FAI confirmed it paid Delaney a total of €462,000 in a severance package when he left the organisation earlier this year. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho
The payment, which was made in December 2018, is disclosed for the first time in the financial accounts of the FAI for 2018, which were published on Friday. It is in addition to the €100,000 loan Mr Delaney made to the organisation in 2017.
Publishing the accounts on Friday, outgoing FAI president Donal Conway said his understanding was that the €50,000 “was described as an investment in football”. Paul Cooke, the executive lead of the FAI, said the total raised from Delaney and others in this exercise was in the region of €650,000. “The €50,000 was a donation to the organisation. There was a number of people who made donations to the organisation at that time.”
The FAI would not confirm who else donated money, beyond saying no other employee of the FAI was involved. It is thought that up to a dozen people were involved in the cash call, which was designed to help with the day-to-day running costs of the organisation as the financial pressures it was facing were becoming more acute. Some of the donations came in the form of subscriptions for corporate boxes or tickets.
“A load of people made donations to the organisation at that time,” Cooke said. “In some cases, I’m sure some of them were boxes at the Aviva or ticket deals or some such thing, it would have been raising revenue through those,” Conway said. He said he was not aware of the payments at the time.
There is no ongoing liability, relationship, anything. Nothing further. It has been paid and there is nothing else to be paid
The revelation came as the FAI confirmed it paid Delaney a total of €462,000 in a severance package when he left the organisation earlier this year. It is understood the cash element of that payment amounted to roughly €50,000 after tax, with the majority of it composed of pension payments which Delaney will not be able to access for several years.
Cooke told a press conference yesterday that the payment to Delaney is “a full and final settlement. There is no ongoing liability, relationship, anything. Nothing further. It has been paid and there is nothing else to be paid.”
Conway, who was on the board at the time Delaney’s pay deals were approved, said he was not aware of the scale or the terms and conditions of the contracts when they were approved. He said “In due course, it will of course be established if a finance director knew or didn’t know about those contracts as well.”
Conway, who announced earlier on Friday he would quit the organisation in January, said he hoped his decision would expedite the return of suspended State funding for the FAI. He said he felt he had served Irish football well. “I feel I’ve invested a significant amount of time in Irish football, in key areas or elements of Irish football.
My guilt is not a sin of commission, it is a sin of omission. That’s how I would describe my time on the board
“I’m leaving my position earlier than I should have for reasons I’ve outlined earlier. That’s an acceptance of that collective failure of a board that I was part of,” he said.
Asked about his legacy, he said people will be able to make their own judgments when investigations, which are ongoing, are concluded. “My guilt is not a sin of commission, it is a sin of omission. That’s how I would describe my time on the board.”
Speaking after a cabinet meeting in Trim, Co Meath, Minister for Sport Shane Ross said the news from the FAI accounts was “pretty horrifying, pretty scary . . . a terrible reflection of the state of affairs the FAI is in.”
He reiterated his call for a total clear-out of the FAI, and welcomed the news that Conway was to step down. Earlier in the day, Ross said his departure was “long overdue”.
“I have been seeking a complete departure of the old guard for many months,” he said.
The focus for the FAI will now switch to the appointment of four independent directors who will play a key role in the appointment of a new chief executive, after the organisation’s preferred option, John Foley, decided not to take up the role this week. Conway said he met with Amrop, the company appointing the independent directors, on Thursday night. The FAI, which says it has not yet received the names of the four independent directors, hopes to make the appointments in the coming weeks.
On Friday night, Siptu employees at the FAI sought an urgent meeting with the Government and management to discuss their futures. Former FAI chief executive Bernard O’Byrne said the situation was “heartbreaking for thousands of people, that this is what the hierarchy has been overseeing for the last 12-14 years”.