John Delaney steps down as FAI chief executive

John Delaney will take up new role as executive vice-president of the FAI

John Delaney was appointed chief executive of the FAI in 2005
Image: John Delaney was appointed chief executive of the FAI in 2005

John Delaney has stepped down from his role as chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) after 14 years in charge.

The 51-year-old will take up a new position as executive vice-president of the FAI with immediate effect.

Chief operating officer Rea Walshe has been appointed to the role of interim CEO by the FAI board, as the recruitment process begins for a new chief executive.

"The Board of the Football Association of Ireland has adopted a review of its senior management structure that will see Chief Executive Officer John Delaney move to a new position of Executive Vice-President with immediate effect," the FAI confirmed in a statement.

"The report was commissioned in February and carried out in recent weeks by sports governance expert Jonathan Hall Associates and their principal Jonathan Hall who is a former Director of Governance and Director of Football Services with the English FA.

"Jonathan Hall Associates was engaged to review senior management structures and the role of CEO as the Association plans for the launch of a new strategic report for the period 2020-2024 and ahead of its centenary in 2021.

"The report recommends that the FAI considers creating a new role of Executive Vice-President and starts the process of appointing a new Chief Executive Officer in order to put itself in the best position possible for the strategic period ahead.

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"The report states: "The new role of Executive Vice-President would be a specific defined role with responsibility for a range of international matters and special projects on behalf of the FAI. It is envisaged that the current CEO would step into this new role. This would allow Irish football to continue to benefit from his extensive football experience and contacts across Europe and the rest of the world."

"The report adds: "A new Chief Executive should be recruited to be responsible for all the other issues typically overseen by a Chief Executive of a national association. The new Chief Executive would assume responsibility for leading and managing the executive team at the FAI with appropriate executive support being provided to the Executive Vice-President to carry out the role. Both roles should be clearly defined and would report into the Board.

"The new Chief Executive and the Executive Vice-President would need to work closely together in a collaborative manner in line with the updated strategy established by the new Chief Executive and agreed by the Board."

John Delaney oversaw the recent appointment of Mick McCarthy as Republic of Ireland manager
Image: Delaney oversaw the recent appointment of Mick McCarthy as Republic of Ireland manager

It emerged last week that Delaney provided a €100,000 bridging loan to the Football Association of Ireland in April, 2017. He was called before a parliamentary committee to explain it.

Delaney claimed the short-term loan was required to aid cash flow at the time and was repaid in full by the FAI two months later.

"I am aware of stories circulating around this loan dating back to 2017," Delaney said. "I confirm that I made a one-off bridging loan to the Association to aid a very short-term cash flow issue.

"This is the only occasion on which I provided the Association with a short-term loan."

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Delaney was appointed chief executive of the FAI in 2005.

He has overseen the appointment of a number of Republic of Ireland managers, most recently Mick McCarthy who succeeded Martin O'Neil last November.

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