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John Delaney defends Martin O'Neill's eye-watering salary and dismisses TD's concerns

The outgoing manager was believed to earning in the region of €2 million a year towards the end of his tenure.

John Delaney pictured speaking at a press conference on Sunday.
John Delaney pictured speaking at a press conference on Sunday.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Updated at 1.04

- Paul Fennessy reports from the Aviva Stadium

FAI CEO JOHN Delaney has defended the salary paid to outgoing Ireland boss Martin O’Neill amid criticism of how Irish football is being run.

It is less than a year since O’Neill’s new contract was officially signed, despite the disappointing end to Ireland’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

It has been widely reported that the Derry native was earning in the region of €2 million a year towards the end of his time in charge, with a further €600,000 allegedly going to assistant boss Roy Keane, though Delaney claims some of the figures that have been bandied about in the media of late are inaccurate.

It is understood that the decision, confirmed last week, to part ways with the Irish management team, meant that O’Neill and his staff received a substantial compensation package to boot.

In addition, the manner in which Irish football has been run in recent years has led to increasing public unrest, while Deputy Catherine Murphy, a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport, asked for Delaney and his colleagues to be put in front of a committee in an interview with the Irish Sun, with the TD suggesting more transparency and accountability should demanded of the FAI.

Delaney, however, dismissed these concerns in a press conference on Sunday, claiming that Murphy was making the comments for the sake of “publicity”.

“I’ve appeared in front of many Dail Committees,” he said.

I’ve no interest in a sideshow or anyone looking for publicity.

“I have no problem meeting anybody who wants to discuss Irish football and make sure it goes to its next development. 

“[Accusations of lack of transparency] are completely unfair. I’ll give you one example — my own salary is transparent. Other sports bodies, for their own reasons, choose not to reveal their CEOs salaries. I’m probably one of the very few whose salary does get disclosed.”

On the issues of O’Neill’s salary, Delaney added: “I read things in the paper and you read them too. You can talk about ‘expensive,’ but whatever way you look at it, he was a good manager. He got us to a major tournament. He got us to a playoffs in Denmark. We were 60 minutes away from getting to a World Cup. We were beaten by France and France went onto the European final. He did one hell of a job for Irish football.

“I’ve read and heard a lot of stuff over the last period that’s been very unfair.

He was a very good appointment from the FAI and his bringing through of players will stand to Mick and Stephen Kenny in the future.”

Delaney also said having a manager in place for Sunday’s Euro 2020 draw was not the primary reason for the incredibly quick turnaround between O’Neill’s departure and the announcement of McCarthy as the new boss.

“We wanted the right manager, and having discussed it with the board, we made the decision that Mick was the manager went wanted. He was available and why wait around? Just get on with appointing him.”

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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