John Delaney settlement details expected to emerge at FAI agm

Minister Ross makes clear he wants the full terms of the agreement made public

Former FAI executive vice-president John Delaney resigned from the organisation on Saturday night. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Former FAI executive vice-president John Delaney resigned from the organisation on Saturday night. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Details of the FAI’s settlement with John Delaney are expected to be confirmed when the association’s updated financial position is put to delegates at the reconvened agm in November. The news will be welcomed by Minister for Sport Shane Ross, who on Sunday made it clear that he expects the terms of the agreement to be made public.

Sources at the FAI have told The Irish Times that the value of the pay-off agreed with Delaney to facilitate his resignation is about €500,000. The bulk of the money is understood to be made up of contributions to Delaney’s pension which may be staggered, with the other element being a payment in lieu of notice.

The pension contribution figure is believed to be just over €400,000, with the balance bringing the total value to around €500,000.

In its statement, issued late on Saturday night, the association said both sides had agreed not to reveal the actual detail involved.

Speaking to RTÉ, Mr Ross said that he wanted the full terms of the agreement made public and he suggested that he believed that the association still had significant work to do on other fronts before public funding previously worth around €2.9 million could be restored.

FAI president, Donal Conway, had suggested in July that government funds might begin to flow to the association again by the end of this year or the beginning of 2020. However, Mr Ross’s comments do not indicated this timeframe is likely.

Ross said he welcomed the news that Delaney’s position had been resolved but that there was still “a fundamental problem at the FAI which has not been resolved”.

Regarding the deal with Delaney, he said: “The FAI is continuing, once again, to shroud the accounts in mystery. I mean, we don’t know what the original contract said so we don’t know what sort of payoff was going and we have to have that information, we need to know that Government money is not being used for this.”

Given that funding is suspended, that is not really likely, at least in any direct sense but, he continued: “I think they should release the figures and I think it’s a bit absurd that we shouldn’t know exactly what the payout is in the first place.

“The public has to have confidence that the FAI is being properly run and we would want to see the extent of the severance pay, to see that large sums are not being paid out unnecessarily, to have that confidence.”

The fact that there has been a settlement has angered many people within the game who blame the chronic lack of funding available on the organisation’s mismanagement during Delaney’s time as chief executive. The deal, though, looks to be in line with what experts in employment law had previously suggested to The Irish Times a typical settlement might eventually look like with payments worth nine to 15 months’ salary, often structured to be tax efficient for the recipient, not uncommon.

Original demands

The incentive for the employer, even one that believes it has a strong case, is to avoid the possibility of protracted and costly litigation which always carries the risk of somehow going wrong and requiring a substantial payment to be made in the end anyway. The worst-case scenario in this instance, it was believed, might have run to several million euro.

Board members had also agreed a bonus clause entitling Delaney to around €2 million if t he stayed at the organisation until 2021, a factor that would probably have influenced his original demands when negotiations began in April and he was said to have sought between €2 million and €3 million to leave.

Delaney’s remaining link to the high level game, his seat at Uefa’s top table, is also expected to be severed shortly . The Irish man had been elected to the federation’s executive committee 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 few months, however, Delaney has been completely marginalised at European level and did not attend the women’s World Cup or Under-17 European Championships, staged 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.

It seems likely that an attempt to persuade the Irishman to resign from that position too could be made and that may well involve another financial settlement.

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