John Delaney has said that the workload which came with his previous job as CEO of the FAI is the reason for the association creating the new role of executive vice-president.
The FAI announced last month - just hours after Ireland had beaten Gibraltar in a Euro 2020 qualifier - that Delaney would be stepping down as CEO to take up the new role. He did so amid the controversy of a €100,000 loan which, it had emerged earlier in the month, he had provided to the FAI in 2017.
RTÉ reported on Tuesday that Sport Ireland will today tell the Oireachtas Transport, Tourism and Sport Committee that the FAI "did not sufficiently explain the circumstances of this loan and its repayment".
Speaking on Tipp FM's Extra Time Junior Football Podcast, Delaney said that he is looking forward to the challenges which being executive vice-president will bring. That is a job in which he will be earning "substantially" less than the €360,000 he did as CEO.
"The way it’s been with the association over the last number of years, in my own personal case, I’ve been trying to attend grassroots football functions and games every weekend - I’ve given my life to that and I love it, I get great energy out of it," said the 51-year-old.
"I love helping the clubs, I love meeting the volunteers, I love grassroots people.
"And then during the week there’s an organisation with a turnover of €50 million, with 200 staff. So it’s a huge organisation now and then there’s a huge international dimension. I’m on the board of Uefa as it is.
"Apart from that we have a feasibility study to do a World Cup bid with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there are meetings in England on that next week and that’s making significant progress.
"There’s an under-21 bid for the under-21 Euros with Northern Ireland in 2023. It's amazing that that round ball - the football - can unite two associations in that regard.
"There’s centralised television deals to be done, we’re starting the process of negotiating that with Uefa, which is a lot of money for the FAI which then means a lot of money for grassroots football and other projects. And I could go on. There's the generation of revenue in other parts of the world like America and Australia, the Irish diaspora, which we've never really looked at yet.
"That’s just a snapshot of some of the projects that I’m turning my attention to, and it really was impossible to do the three jobs I just laid out to you for one person, that’s why the association commissioned an independent report to split the duties."
Delaney is due to appear before the Oireachtas Transport, Tourism and Sport Committee next week.
You can listen to John Delaney speaking about his new FAI role from the 16:30 mark below.
Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile