After a decade long arrangement, Denis O'Brien has decided he will no longer help the Football Association of Ireland to fund the Irish management team.
Having enabled Ireland to put together the management teams of Giovanni Trapattoni/Marco Tardelli and Martin O'Neill/Roy Keane, John Delaney has confirmed that the conclusion of this arrangement had nothing to do with the recent contract negotiations of Ireland's current manager O'Neill.
FAI CEO John Delaney has confirmed that the association’s decade long arrangement with businessman Denis O’Brien to help fund the Irish management team has come to an end. Delaney has told @offtheball the news had no impact on Martin O’Neill’s recent contract negotiations.
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) March 9, 2018
Speaking to Off the Ball of O'Brien's decision to conclude this arrangement, the FAI's CEO John Delaney explained that it was an eventuality that the organisation had been aware of for a while:
I knew a while back that this was going to come to an end, and the FAI board knew. We knew before we went into the contract negotiations with Martin and Roy that that was the case.
Citing that the FAI are now in a place where they can similarly compete without O'Brien's direct help, Delaney believes the FAI are "in a stronger player financially to appoint an international manager at the kind of salaries Martin [O'Neill] determines."
Having come in at what was "a difficult time financially" for the FAI, the estimated €10 million O'Brien allotted to the FAI over the near-decade long arrangement coincided with Ireland qualifying for two European Championships, and reaching two World Cup playoffs.
Believing that the initial appointment of Trapattoni demonstrated Ireland's international intentions, Delaney felt that Trapattoni's willingness to take on the role subsequently encouraged Martin O'Neill that the job was one worth taking up.
Delaney was also keen to stress his thanks to O'Brien for his service to the FAI in enabling them to enhance their recruitment efforts.