Delaney: Revelry is behind me
FAI chief executive John Delaney has distanced himself from Michel Platini, insisting there’s no way back into UEFA for the organisation’s former president. FIFA hit the former French captain Platini with an eight-year suspension from all football activity in 2015 for receiving what they branded a “disloyal payment” of €1.5m. Platini denied the payment was improper and will be clear of the ban in October 2019 after having it halved under appeal.
Delaney, now a member of the UEFA executive, was considered a close ally of the Frenchman, evidenced by Platini officially opening their headquarters in Abbotstown in 2007 and the FAI supporting his bid to succeed Sepp Blatter as head of the world’s governing body.
Delaney confirmed he has had no contact with Platini. Asked whether Platini could mount a comeback to the frontline of football administration, Delaney was unequivocal. “He’s got his ban reduced, but no,” he emphasised.
“We have a really good new president in Aleksander Ceferin and a strong board that includes former Manchester United chief executive David Gill and Ivan Gazidis, the current chief executive of Arsenal. There is a new breed there with a lot of new board members, so UEFA is running well.”
Delaney, who presided over an uneventful FAI AGM in Cork yesterday, has no intention of departing his current role to upgrade his part-time position with UEFA. Instead, he is planning beyond the expiration of his latest contract in 2020. He was elected FAI treasurer in 2001, gaining promotion to the top post four years later.
Delaney was also adamant that the era of late-night revelry is behind him. “There is not too much time for late nights — nor should there be,” he said. “I’d accept that. I’m in work most mornings at 7am which is my work ethic. I’m 50 now and must say that I feel great. I do a bit of running and it helps me feel fit.
“If you haven’t got drive in any job, then you shouldn’t be there, and I’ve got plenty of drive. Once the members of the FAI want me to stay there, of course I will. The centenary of the FAI is coming up in 2021 which will involve a national football exhibition and a year of events.
“There is always something. If I lose the energy or the members say it is time for a change, then I’ll go. As long as both of those are in place, I’m happy.”
Meanwhile, Delaney promised the 113 delegates at the Rochestown Park Hotel yesterday that the debt on the Lansdowne Road stadium will be cleared by 2020.
The association is currently carrying almost €40m of financial liabilities, chief amongst it a €29m loan to Bank of Ireland. “There will be no compromise here,” he said. “We can achieve this through both prudent financial operations and by continuing to invest in the game.”
Donal Conway has succeeded Fitzgerald as the FAI’s President four-year term. Tony on a
JOURNALIST Marie Crowe has won the FAI Communications Award for Best Feature for her poignant interview with Derry City manager Kenny Shiels, published in the Sunday Independent last October. Crowe was named as the winner of the award at Friday night’s FAI delegates dinner in Cork, part of the Association’s Festival of Football week.In the aftermath of Ryan McBride’s tragic death, Crowe travelled to Maghera to meet with Shiels, who spoke about the effect the death of his captain had on his team and him as a manager. He also recounted the traumatic events around the murder of his brother David.