THE slow departure of John Delaney from the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) marks the end of one chapter and the possibility for a more transparent, clearer future, Fine Gael TD Noel Rock has said.
Deputy Rock, a Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West and member of the Transport, Tourism and Sports Committee, said the latest development in the long running FAI saga was not enough and that Mr Delaney should resign immediately from his position.
He described the FAI acknowledgement that former FAI CEO John Delaney had voluntarily stepped aside from his position as FAI Executive Vice President pending the completion of an FAI investigation as “more obstinacy and fudge from Mr Delaney”.
Mr Rock said Mr Delaney should resign immediately.
“He is still trying to stay on the squad if not the pitch. While we saw at the weekend that Mr Delaney’s credit card managed to spend €400 in a Hilfiger store, today’s statement shows you clearly can’t buy class.
“It’s incredible that the treasurer has the good grace to resign, yet the Executive Vice President – in the aftermath of the loan, having his rent paid, and the €40,000 in credit card transactions in six months – has the audacity to only step aside temporarily? Will the FAI still be paying his salary while he has stepped aside temporarily? Who decides whether the voluntary stepping aside ends?
“The denials, deferrals, delays and avoidance finally came to a head last week – the farce has reached breaking point. Mr Delaney’s unwillingness to answer questions before our committee illustrated that there were many more problems within the organisation than had come to light to date.
“My basic questions relating to the €100,000 loan, the withholding of prize money from Dundalk FC, whether the FAI had a tax clearance certificate, all went unanswered last Wednesday. There were avenues I couldn’t even begin to pursue because it was clear Mr Delaney was not going to answer them. I am in ongoing correspondence with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and I expect them to pursue these avenues to the fullest extent possible,” Deputy Rock said.
“This marks the end of one long drawn out chapter but it is not satisfactory. Mr Delaney should have resigned fully. We need to secure the possibility of change. Real change of an FAI that is accountable, an FAI that embraces transparency, an FAI that allows questions from the press at their AGMs.
“The FAI now needs to implement the full recommendations of Genesis report immediately. They need to hold an EGM and bring about the election of independent board members with actual expertise. The FAI need to make sure the grassroots are truly listened to, and not simply wheeled out for statements when backs are against the wall. The FAI need to recognise that both the grassroots and the League of Ireland are key stakeholders in the organisation.
“Finally, the FAI need to continue their inquiries and allow a forensic audit organised independently by Sport Ireland to take place. Only through such actions can confidence begin to be restored,” Deputy Rock said.