Unrepentant Delaney: ‘I wish we’d got more from FIFA’

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By Liam Mackey

FAI chief executive John Delaney was bullishly unrepentant about the controversial €5m FIFA payment when he spoke at the association’s AGM in Sligo today, telling delegates that his only regret was that he wasn’t able to get more money from the deal.

“In relation to the €5m from FIFA, we have demonstrated as a board that it was invested in full in the Aviva Stadium and fully and properly accounted for,” he said.

“We’ve said it before and I will say it again: it was a good business deal for the Association and was used entirely to help us to develop Irish football. I wish we had got more.”

John Delaney pictured at the AGM today. Picture: Sportsfile

One consequence of the FIFA payment controversy was the pulping and reprinting of copies of the match programme for Ireland’s Euro qualifier against Scotland in June, after it was decided at the eleventh hour to take out a reference to the matter in the CEO’s original article for the publication.

The re-printing costs involved were estimated to be in the region of €7,500 but Honorary Treasurer Eddie Murray yesterday assured the AGM that the FAI did not have to pay the money.

“We have excellent long-standing relationships with our programme publishers and we have agreed between us that no additional payment is required for cancellation or reprinting of the programme,” he revealed.

There were no questions from the floor at yesterday’s AGM and no press conference with the media afterwards.

However, John Delaney did receive a majority, if not universal, standing ovation from delegates present when he concluded his address by telling them: “I’m proud, very proud to be your CEO of this great, great association.”

Following threats of a protest by disaffected Irish fans, there was extra security at the Clarion Hotel in Sligo where the AGM took place but the event passed off without incident.

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