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Delayney: John sits out until review's complete

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John Delaney leaves the meeting at the Carlton Hotel at Dublin Airport

John Delaney leaves the meeting at the Carlton Hotel at Dublin Airport

John Delaney leaves the meeting at the Carlton Hotel at Dublin Airport

John Delaney's future in the FAI is hanging by a thread after he offered to step aside pending an "independent" investigation.

The board of the football body met for several hours at the Carlton Hotel yesterday, after which it confirmed its executive vice-president would step aside with immediate effect.

It follows weeks of controversy about the governance of the FAI in the wake of revelations that Mr Delaney provided it with an undeclared "bridging loan" of €100,000 in 2017 to help it pay creditors.

Mr Delaney refused to answer questions from the Herald as he left the meeting yesterday before jumping into a car and being driven away.

The FAI issued a statement confirming its decision.

"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," it said.

The resignations of honorary secretary Michael Cody and honorary treasurer Eddie Murray were also announced.

The FAI refused to answer a number of questions put to it yesterday by the Herald. These included:

• Had the board actually accepted Mr Delaney's offer to step aside?

• Will Mr Delaney receive payment during the period?

• Who will his replacement as executive vice-president be?

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John Delaney leaves yesterday’s meeting

John Delaney leaves yesterday’s meeting

John Delaney leaves yesterday’s meeting

• Was the driver who picked Mr Delaney up after the meeting employed by the FAI?

"No more comment, thank you," was the response.

It is unclear if Mr Delaney's work with Uefa will continue while he steps aside from the FAI.

Trust

No FAI members, including president Donal Conway, took questions put to them by the media following the meeting.

TD Catherine Murphy said the FAI's latest statement does "nothing" to restore trust in the organisation.

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Donal Conway leaving

Donal Conway leaving

Donal Conway leaving

The Social Democrats TD said a lack of transparency continues to be the root of the FAI's problems.

"This is not the statement that people had expected. What we're seeing is the FAI doing the absolute minimum, which is not acceptable," said Ms Murphy.

"If anyone is asking if John Delaney's offer to resign is going to rebuild trust and start a new dawn for Irish football, my answer would be no."

She said a radical change of culture in the FAI is needed.

"John has built up a loyalty on the board, which is very problematic because the board of any organisation isn't supp-osed to be unconditionally loyal to their chief executive," she said.

"They're supposed to challenge its members, which doesn't seem to be the culture in the FAI at all.

"Football has been badly let down by this whole debacle, and the only way to rebuild trust and renew the organisation is through radical change."

Aidan Eames, who was acting on Mr Delaney's behalf when he appeared at the Oireachtas last week, was alongside him as he met board members. The FAI also had legal representation.

It emerged yesterday that the FAI had used all available funding from its various bank accounts at the time former chief executive Mr Delaney provided it with a €100,000 loan.

The revelation comes in correspondence from the association to the Oireachtas Sport Committee last night.

The letter from interim chief executive Rea Walshe addresses a number of queries raised by TDs and senators at the committee's meeting with FAI representatives last week.

Ms Walshe confirmed the FAI holds a valid tax clearance certificate in the correspondence.

She said the loan was lodged into the association's deposit account "which is the account the majority of our receipts go into".

"This is the bank account listed on our invoices," she added.

"An internal transfer from this account to our main acc-ount, which holds the overdraft facility, was then performed."

Mr Delaney gave an account of the circumstances of the loan he gave the FAI in 2017 when he appeared before the committee last Wednesday.

He told members he was advised at an internal FAI finance meeting on April 25, 2017 that if all cheques and FAI bank transfers issued to third parties at that time were presented for payment, the FAI would have exceeded its €1.5m bank overdraft.

The committee was also told by FAI officials that the Association had 24 bank accounts.

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FAI vice-president Noel Fitzroy leaves yesterday’s meeting

FAI vice-president Noel Fitzroy leaves yesterday’s meeting

FAI vice-president Noel Fitzroy leaves yesterday’s meeting