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John Delaney has 'tirelessly worked to find a solution' for the League of Ireland, says Limerick chairman

Pat O’Sullivan says the former FAI CEO has ‘tirelessly worked to find a solution and a model for the [domestic] league to prosper’.

Limerick FC chairman Pat O'Sullivan feels it's an appropriate time to 'acknowledge the contribution' of John Delaney to Irish football.
Limerick FC chairman Pat O'Sullivan feels it's an appropriate time to 'acknowledge the contribution' of John Delaney to Irish football.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

LIMERICK FC CHAIRMAN Pat O’Sullivan has come out in support of John Delaney, claiming the former FAI CEO has “tirelessly worked to find a solution and a model” for the League of Ireland to prosper.

In a statement released on the same day Sport Ireland said the FAI “did not sufficiently explain” the situation surrounding the €100,000 loan from then-FAI Chief Executive John Delaney to the association in 2017 — Sport Ireland will appear in front of an Oireachtas Committee tomorrow — O’Sullivan said it was time to “acknowledge the contribution of Mr Delaney to the game over the past number of years”.

The statement, signed by the Limerick chairman, read:

“In light of recent events concerning former FAI CEO John Delaney, I feel as Chairman of Limerick FC, it is an appropriate time to acknowledge the contribution of Mr Delaney to the game over the past number of years.

“In his time as CEO, we have had well publicised arguments over certain decisions taken by the FAI. However, we have a professional working relationship with John and all other FAI departments. Any request for advice or assistance is always supported.

“On a number of occasions we have been supported by the FAI facilities department with Sports Capital grant applications as well as advising technically on clubhouses, artificial pitches and floodlighting.

“Whenever possible John has attended club events and presentation nights, anniversary dinners and dedicated a lot of his time to attending Limerick FC matters, often taking up family time to be at a particular event to recognise a landmark occasion in Limerick.

With the assistance of club staff and a large group of club volunteers the club undertook the hosting of the Trappatoni [sic] Dinner and the Martin O’Neill dinner as fundraisers , it was through requests made to the CEO on the availability of the managers that both events were made possible. As well as facilitating our request for the attendance of the respective Managers at both events, he was very active in ensuring the FAI departments, Marketing, Commercial and Media supported the event, to maximise our financial return on the event.

Pat O'Sullivan watches on Limerick chairman O'Sullivan watching his club in action. Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

The statement continued: “While we have ongoing reservations on how the National league performs and our own views on how it should be structured going forward, it is a difficult situation for anyone to manage, 20 competing organisations all with different needs, issues and strategies on what’s best for their club/organisation to achieve their goals.

John has engaged with League club representatives and tirelessly worked to find a solution and a model for the league to prosper.

“Limerick FC see the National Underage leagues as a hugh [sic] positive and continue to embrace the structure. Long term we feel the national underage leagues will be seen as a turning point in the development of Irish Clubs.

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“We continue to support the ongoing discussions in relation to new League management structure and look forward to finding a resolution amicable to all involved.

“His election to the UEFA Executive committee is a testament to the high regard he is held within the game in Europe and while this is a great honour for John, it is also recognition of the game and our National Association.”

O’Sullivan’s statement concluded:

All in Limerick FC are very grateful for John’s and the FAI’s support and contribution to the game in his time as CEO and fully believe he is the person to continue his work with UEFA and FIFA matters in his new role as Executive Vice President.

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Sport Ireland says FAI ‘has not sufficiently explained’ the €100k John Delaney loan

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