This week I should be talking about League of Ireland football on the pitch. Dundalk’s late winner against Bohs, Derry moving to 2nd place, Rovers continuing their fantastic run of results. On Monday UCD beating Cork City and that’s without mentioning the First Division. But alas it is not to be. The shadow of John Delaney hangs over our League and the whole football network. The board have said they will resign – WHEN? John Delaney says he will “step aside” – NO NOT ENOUGH, he must go.
The Irish Sports Council need to put an experienced Sports Administrator in place now, to run the association on a daily basis until all the investigation are completed. These investigations should be carried out by companies that are independent of the FAI and appointed by an external body, probably Sports Ireland. The terms of reference of these companies should include a root and branch forensic audit of the accounts of the FAI. We have a situation where, at the present moment, even their auditors don’t have confidence that the FAI’s books are in order.
This is a book-keeping task, and while it may be time consuming, it is a task any of the accountancy firms are capable of doing. I think people are looking at this as the main task and expect some juicy headlines/scandals to arise from the investigation. We will have to wait and see.
Although the forensic audit is important, I do not believe that it is the most important strand of this investigation. We have to understand how a man who came into power on the back of supporting the Genesis Report, a Reformer was allowed to become an autocrat. The people who allowed this, by their silence, by their constant massaging of the Ex-CEO’s ego, by never having the balls to say no, they fed out of the trough. His glory was their glory.
They could get John Delaney to open a pitch, dressing rooms, whatever… and bask in the reflected glory.
No this is not just about finances, important though that is. This is an opportunity to change how Irish Football is run. Removing senior people, but not changing the organisational structure will serve no good. Without reforming the structure the problems will still be there. Believe me, there are many more potential John Delaney’s out there, people who know how the system works and are ready to fill the void that has been created. This cannot be allowed to happen. We need to develop an organisational structure that is fit for purpose in the 21st Century. We need to consign the present arcane system to the bin. Parish pump politics, gombeenism, has to be done away with. The mantra of “the Leader is great, the Leader is good” has got to end.
We need professional people to run a business in a professional manner. I do not believe it is the CEO’s job to disperse funds personally. We have enough ex-players in the different areas of the country who would be delighted to do that job.
A note of thanks to all our journalists who wouldn’t let this story die. I am sure I missed some of the coverage here in Lanzarote but Mark Tighe, Daniel McDonnell, Owen Cowzer and Neil O’Riordan certainly kept all the information up to date and I even got used to twitter lol. If I missed anyone – apologies!
From someone who loves Irish football please take this opportunity to change the face of Irish Soccer and make me proud.