John Delaney (football administrator)

John Delaney (born 16 October 1967) is a former Irish sports administrator. He was executive vice-president of the Football Association of Ireland from March to September 2019, having previously been its chief officer and a member of its board for over fourteen years.[3]

John Delaney
Executive Vice-President, Football Association of Ireland
In office
25 March – 28 September 2019
CEO, Football Association of Ireland
In office
December 2004 – March 2019[1]
Personal details
Born (1967-10-16) 16 October 1967 (age 53)
Waterford, Ireland
Emer Delaney
(div. 2016)


Born in Waterford, John Delaney is one of five children of Joe and Joan Delaney. His siblings are a brother, Paul, and three sisters, Joanne, Jane and Mary Pat.[4] His family were removed to County Tipperary when he was about three, and he grew up later in Tipperary Town. As a schoolboy he played Gaelic games as well as soccer, and lined out for St Michaels of Tipperary and Tralee Celtic of Kerry.[5]

Business life

Delaney's early career was in business, and by 2002 he owned three companies in Waterford and had other business interests in Athlone.

Delaney qualified as a chartered accountant but as of September 2016 had not gone through the formality of joining Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI).[6]

Soccer administration

John Delaney joined the board of directors of soccer club Waterford United in 1996, in which capacity he represented the club on the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) Senior Council, and in the League of Ireland.[7]

He was elected Treasurer of the FAI in July 2001, the youngest man to hold the position. His father, Joe, had held the same position previously.

CEO and the Aviva Stadium

Delaney rose to prominence in the wake of the 2002 Keane Saipan saga, having emerged as the FAI's public figurehead during the affair.[8] He became acting chief executive of the organisation in December 2004, after Fran Rooney's acrimonious departure,[9][10] and took up the role full-time in March 2005.[11] In November 2006, his contract was extended to 2012.[11] In July 2010, the FAI's Board of Directors agreed to extend his contract again, until 2015,[8] and in July 2014 once more, this time to 2019.[12]

The biggest project undertaken during Delaney's time in office was the expansion of the Irish Rugby Football Union stadium at Lansdowne Road to become the Aviva Stadium. Led by the IRFU with the active participation of the FAI, the project successfully delivered the stadium but while the State and the IRFU parts were financially as planned, the FAI found itself in severe debt. The main scheme to pay for the FAI elements of the work, the Vantage Club for high-income fans, massively under-delivered on advance ticket sales.[citation needed]

Handball incident and aftermath

When FIFA offered Ireland a Fair Play Award following 2009's France v Republic of Ireland play-off, Delaney respectfully declined and said FIFA President Sepp Blatter was "an embarrassment to himself and an embarrassment to FIFA".[13]

On 4 June 2015, it was revealed by Delaney that FIFA had paid the FAI €5m to stop legal action against them after their controversial World Cup play-off defeat in 2009.[14][15][16]


In 2012 Delaney cut all FAI staff wages by 10% and announced he would do the same with his wages. However, in March 2019 it emerged that the FAI had awarded him a benefit-in-kind payment of €3,000 a month towards a house in Kilmacanogue, rented from Grainne Seoige. This outraged the staff as he already earned more than €300,000 annually more than most of them.[17]

In 2012 the Republic of Ireland qualified for their first European Championship since 1988, under Giovanni Trapatoni, and in 2016 they also qualified for the same championship in France, under Martin O Neill, and advanced to the last 16 of the tournament.

Delaney was elected to the Executive Committee of UEFA in April 2017.


In late March 2019 the FAI announced that Delaney had resigned as CEO, and would take up a specially-created new position of Executive Vice-President, reporting directly to the Board rather than the CEO, and with responsibility, among other things, for international affairs.[18][19][20][21]

On 10 April 2019, Delaney was part of an FAI delegation appearing before the Oireachtas Committee on Sport, but after reading a prepared statement, declined to take questions or speak further.[22]

Delaney remained on full pay in his new role until 28 September, when the FAI announced that he had resigned from the role of Executive Vice-President and all FAI roles, with immediate effect.[22]

Delaney resigned his UEFA executive committee membership in January 2020.[23]

Other roles

Delaney became a member of the Executive Committee of the Olympic Council of Ireland in 2005.[24][25] He was re-elected unopposed as Second Vice-President of the OCI in 2008.[26] He resigned from the Executive Committee and from his position as the Second Vice-President of the OCI on 25 October 2016.[25][27] Prior to this, he had been seen as heir apparent to OCI president Pat Hickey.[28]

Delaney is also a member of the board of directors of the Aviva Stadium.[29]

He was elected to the executive committee of UEFA at the Helsinki Congress on 5 April 2017.[30]

National team managers

Delaney has overseen the appointments of Steve Staunton, Giovanni Trapattoni, Martin O'Neill and Mick McCarthy to manage the Republic of Ireland national football team.

Personal life

Delaney was married to a Clare woman, Emer, who was a teacher in Tipperary Town; divorce proceedings commenced in 2016.[2]


  1. ^ "20 years of drama in Irish football, Chapter 1: the rise and fall of John Delaney". The 42. 11 May 2020. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b Hughes, Craig (24 March 2019). "John Delaney's 'bridging loan' occurred during his divorce proceedings".
  3. ^ "John Delaney to step down as FAI chief, taking on new role". RTÉ. 24 March 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  4. ^ Lacey, Eamonn (16 March 2002). "Influential FAI officer proud to follow in father's footsteps". The Nationalist (Tipperary). Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  5. ^ Keyes, Dermot (7 September 2001). "Corcoran and Delaney honoured by Mayor". Munster Express. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  6. ^ Fallon, John (4 September 2016). "FAI boss scores own goal on qualifications". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  7. ^ Lacey, Eamonn (16 March 2002). "Influential FAI officer proud to follow in father's footsteps". The Nationalist (Tipperary). Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Delaney pens new deal to stay at FAI helm". Irish Independent. 10 July 2010. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  9. ^ "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, but King John will not abdicate". Irish Independent. 24 October 2007. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  10. ^ "FAI confirms Rooney departure". RTÉ Sport. 3 November 2004. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  11. ^ a b "FAI extend Delaney's tenure". RTÉ Sport. 12 November 2006. Retrieved 15 February 2007.
  12. ^ Smith, Alan (13 October 2014). "Why John Delaney has a fraught relationship with League of Ireland". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  13. ^ Gannon, Willie (21 December 2009). "Ireland Turns Down FIFA's Patronizing Fair Play Award". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  14. ^ "Fifa paid Irish to stop legal action over Thierry Henry handball". BBC Sport. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  15. ^ "Delaney claims €5m Fifa payoff 'was a good deal'". Irish Independent. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Eamon Dunphy: The FIFA payment to the FAI was like something from The Sopranos". Irish Independent. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  17. ^ "FAI workers call for explanation of CEO's rent payment while they endured cuts" (Press release). SIPTU. 25 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Delaney Steps down as CEO but retains control of key portfolios". Irish Examiner. 23 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  19. ^ "John Delaney steps down as chief executive to take up new FAI position". The 42. 23 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  20. ^ "'The €100,000 issue': A timeline of statements as FAI, John Delaney to face politicians today". The Journal. 10 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  21. ^ "'The beginning of the end for the old FAI'- Dramatic day sends crisis-hit Association into endgame". 16 April 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  22. ^ a b Malone, Emmet, McGreevy, Ronan (30 September 2019). "John Delaney timeline: From CEO to paid 'gardening leave' and resignation". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  23. ^ "John Delaney resigns from UEFA Executive Committee with immediate effect". 20 January 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  24. ^ "THE OLYMPIC COUNCIL OF IRELAND". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  25. ^ a b Moran, Carroll (2017), "Chapter One: Introduction" (PDF), REPORT of the Moran Inquiry (Inquiry into the receipt, distribution and sale of tickets to Olympic Games and ancillary matters), Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, p. 9
  26. ^ "Sonia in line for Olympic Council role". Irish Examiner. 10 October 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  27. ^ McConnell, Daniel; O Cionnaith, Fiachra (26 October 2016). "FAI boss John Delaney resigns as vice president of OCI". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  28. ^ D'Arcy, Ciarán (21 August 2016). "Who's who on the Olympic Council of Ireland executive committee: Members include FAI chief executive John Delaney, seen as heir apparent to Pat Hickey". The Irish Times. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  29. ^ "Stadium Management Company". Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  30. ^ "John Delaney". UEFA. 5 April 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2018.