The statement emerged at six minutes to six o’clock and confirmed that John Delaney was stepping down from the FAI. Well, kind of.
The wording of the statement said that “John Delaney has offered to voluntarily step aside from carrying out his role as Executive Vice-President with immediate effect pending the completion of an independent investigation by the Association into issues of concern to the Board.”
Most people read as far as ‘step aside’ but the more pertinent element was ‘pending the completion of an independent investigation…’
In terms of process, it is the right way to go. Unless or until any actual evidence of wrongdoing becomes apparent Delaney then the course of natural justice demands that he be allowed to defend his name.
It is also likely that he will have a high profile as Chair of the UEFA Committee responsible for the U17 European Championship which will take place across Leinster between May 3rd and 19th.
The pressure to complete all the investigations currently underway, from Mazars, Grant Thornton, and Sport Ireland, will now be intense while the two organisations who have the greatest level of oversight over the management of the FAI, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and UEFA remain quieter on the sidelines.
We do not know yet if any departure package was discussed when Members of the Board met with Delaney and his advisers yesterday but doubtless his wish, and that of the board, will be for a quiet couple of weeks while the numbers are crunched and the processes of investigation are undertaken.
That could change later today when Sport Ireland Chair Kieran Mulvey and CEO John Treacy are back in front of the Oireachtas Committee, as well as Minister Shane Ross and Minster of State Brendan Griffin.
You will be able to watch proceeding from the Committee Room later right here on Sport for Business.
In other developments, yesterday Honorary Secretary Michael Cody and Honorary Treasurer Eddie Murray both voluntarily resigned from the Board and were thanked for their long service to Irish football.
The statement finished by saying:
“The meeting of the Board also mandated the sub-committee, set up to review Governance and recently publicised financial transactions, to press ahead with their work as a matter of urgency. The FAI will update Sport Ireland on all developments ahead of the meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Sport tomorrow.”
“The Board of the Association wishes to assure members, football supporters and all stakeholders and sponsors that it is expediting all processes designed to restore faith in the Football Association of Ireland.”
“The Board acknowledges all concerns raised by stakeholders and supporters and is working to ensure that all Government funding is restored to Irish football at the earliest opportunity.”
There was little more they could do until the pertinent answers on governance and financial management are revealed.