John Delaney replaced in Uefa youth role

Former CEO of FAI seems to be increasingly marginalised at European organisation

Former FAI CEO John Delaney has been replaced in one of the roles he held at Uefa. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Former FAI CEO John Delaney has been replaced in one of the roles he held at Uefa. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Former FAI chief executive, John Delaney has been replaced as chairperson of Uefa’s Youth and Amateur Football Committee with former Polish international Zbigniew Boniek having been named to take on the role for the next four years.

Delaney retains his place on the committee but will now serve alongside another prominent former international, Davor Suker, as one of its deputy chairs. The move represents a demotion for the Irish Executive Committee member who was previously regarded as having enjoyed the patronage of Uefa president Aleksandr Ceferin whose candidacy he had supported from an early stage in 2016.

The Waterfordman was himself elected to the organisation’s Executive Committee the following April when he finished second in a field that included some much more high profile candidates from the bigger associations. Boniek finished fourth, three votes behind Delaney on 45.

The decision by Ceferin to move the Pole from his previous role as chair of the Player Status Committee to the Youth and Amateur Football one looks to be part of an ongoing marginalisation of the Irishman as Uefa watch his protracted departure from the association here and await the findings of the various reports into financial and other affairs during the latter part of Delaney’s time in charge.

The move, though, is not entirely unexpected. Delaney did not even appear at the Under-17 European Championships when they were staged here in May. The chair of the relevant Uefa committee would be expected to have a significant role at the tournament which should have provided one of the high points of Delaney’s two year spell in that role and provided plenty of opportunities for him to connect with members of his grassroots base here.

Instead, the expectation that he would face an endless barrage of questions about his conduct and the state of the association’s governance and financial crisis meant he was nowhere to be seen and Noel Mooney, who attended the final in Tallaght, was effectively named as the interim CEO on the evening that the tournament ended.

Delaney did not even attend the Uefa Executive Committee meeting held in Baku towards the end of that month, where the reorganisation of the association’s committees was voted on, with Uefa declining to explain the reason for his absence.

The news now that he has been handed a lesser role on the Youth committee seems to provide further evidence that his problems at home are casting a major shadow over his status in Europe.

His difficulties may yet impact on the prospects of a joint bid by the FAI and IFA to stage the 2023 European Under-21 championships. A decision on where to stage the event is due to be taken in December of next year. The 2021 tournament is to be held in Hungary which is represented at ExCo level by Sandor Csanyi, Delaney’s predecessor as chair of the Youth committee.

It is not clear yet who else might bid but Poland staged the tournament in 2017.

The reshuffle of Uefa committees is a scheduled event after each Executive Committee election (roughly half the positions were up for grabs earlier this year with Delaney’s four year term running to 2021) but the majority of committee chairs retained their positions. Most, though not all, of the other changes were prompted Exco departures or the need to accommodate newly elected members like Ukraine’s Andrii Pavelko who succeeded Boniek as chair of the Player Status Committee.

Some movement between committees is to be expected and some of those affected can move from the position of chair of one committee to deputy chair of another without it being regarded as a negative move because of the greater importance attached to particular committees. That is clearly not the case with regard to the 51-year-old, however.

Delaney has, meanwhile, retained his position as the Deputy Chair of the Women’s Football Commitee but did not attend any games at the Women’s World Cup in France on behalf of the organisation is not expected to be present at Sunday’s tournament final between the USA and Holland.

In the meantime, the FAI has repeatedly declined to comment on the widely held belief that he is still receiving his full chief executive’s salary of €360,000-a-year rather than the much lower remuneration the organisation had suggested he would receive from the point that he stepped into the specially created role of Executive Vice President.

There was minor movement, meanwhile, amongst Ireland’s ordinary members of the Uefa committees with FAI President Donal Conway being switched from Stadium and Security to Hat-trick (Uefa’s key grant aid programme to member associations) and fellow FAI board member Eamon Naughton replacing him on Stadium and Security having previously served on Club Licensing.

The FAI’s now departed Financial Director Eamon Breen had been on the Hat-Trick committee but his replacement in Abbotstown Alex O’Connell gets the Club Licensing committee role. Frances Smith, Tom O’Shea and John Ward retain their positions on the Marketiung, Grassroots and Refereeing Committees respectively.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.