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End game for John?

TD Rock's call for change within the FAI backed up by former Ireland boss Kerr

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Former FAI CEO and current Executive Vice-President John Delaney will face questions from TDs in an Oireachtas meeting today

Former FAI CEO and current Executive Vice-President John Delaney will face questions from TDs in an Oireachtas meeting today

SPORTSFILE

Former FAI CEO and current Executive Vice-President John Delaney will face questions from TDs in an Oireachtas meeting today

Even before they take their seats for an Oireachtas committee meeting at 10.0am today, the FAI delegation have already taken the most serious kicking imaginable in the last 24 hours.

And the stream of calls for not only ex-CEO John Delaney to leave the football stage but for the entire board of the FAI to resign have grown louder as that 10am deadline came closer.

And there are real doubts over whether Delaney, the great survivor, can come through today and come through this week, his ties with the FAI still intact.

As of 4.30pm yesterday, the FAI (who have been given €48million in various state funds in the last decade) were no longer a state-funded body, they were now a pariah of the Irish sporting world, as Sport Ireland announced they had immediately suspend all funding.

The FAI's response minutes later was that this decision was "unfortunate" and said they were "keen to restore trust and confidence and rebuild the relationship with Sport Ireland as soon as possible".

To do that, the board of the FAI may have to choose between keeping Delaney inside their Football Family, or suffering even more damage to their already-broken relationship with Sport Ireland.

Distamce

In the last two days, the FAI have tried to put distance between themselves and the association's Executive Vice President, with the jaw-dropping claim by president Donal Conway that "some recent comments made by the FAI did not accurately reflect the Board's level of awareness" of the controversial, and still-unexplained €100,000 loan from Delaney to the FAI. The stream of messages of personal support for Delaney, issued by two League of Ireland clubs as well as a number of provincial leagues and smaller clubs, has dried up in the last 48 hours.

From the football world, and the likes of Liam Brady, Kevin Kilbane, Brian Kerr and Richard Sadlier, came a demand during their TV appearances on Champions League duty last night for complete change at the helm of the FAI.

From the world of politics, a view that was even stronger, with TD Noel Rock, who will head the FAI's opposing team at that Oireachtas meeting today.

Is it time for a regime change and for Delaney to go, Rock was asked on RTE radio last night? "That's right, I believe it's time for both a clear-out and a corporate governance overhaul," said Rock, who had a two-footed tackle to come. "And I think it's time for people like sponsors to consider following Sport Ireland's lead in this regard." Ouch.

Later on, Kilbane was asked if there was confidence in this FAI regime. "Not in its current format, no. There has to be dramatic changes within the FAI going forward. There are reforms that have to go ahead and we need an overhaul at the top," he said.

Brian Kerr, who has been offered no involvement with the FAI since he was sacked as senior team manager in 2005, was even stronger. "The board have been complicit in what's been going on in the FAI and how the association has been run during the term of the CEO, and they should be getting out of it altogether. It's time for reform and a complete change," he said.

Rock added that, instead of clearing matters up, recent statement by the FAI had only raised more questions. "It seems to me that this is an organisation that has, behind closed doors, been lurching from one cash flow crisis to another," Rock said.

Today, in front of the Oireachtas, the doors are open. And today, it's the only show in town.