Opinion – Damned Delaney

19 November 2009; John Delaney, Chief Executive of the FAI, at a press conference following the Republic of Ireland's loss to France in the FIFA 2010 World Cup Qualifying Play-off 2nd Leg game last night. The FAI have issued a statement confirming that it will lodge a complaint with FIFA. FAI Headquarters, Abbotstown, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE
FAI CEO John Delaney

MILLIONS of column inches have been written in recent weeks about FIFA and subsequently, the FAI.
The timeline of events, issued by the FAI last week, show that €5m was given to the association as a loan.
A strange situation to say the least. It has been described in several media quarters as ‘hush’ money.
My take on this whole debacle is a slightly skewed one.
The payment, or loan, was made to stop Ireland taking legal action against FIFA. An out of court settlement, if you will.
These settlements, across all sports and everyday life, come with a confidentiality agreement.
It’s taken as a given that no one will ever know the details of this. However, with the FAI and FIFA, this was anything but.
The embarrassment caused by Sepp Blatter and his ‘33rd team’ comments, lead John Delaney and his team down a difficult path.
Were they to stay quiet on the matter, or were they to turn whistle blower?
The fact of the matter is that the FAI and Delaney were in a no-win situation. If they had declined the money, fans of the game would have castigated them for not taking much needed funds for the grass roots.
Now that they have the money, they are at a loss again. Sometimes, like football, there is no way of winning. Damned if he did, Damned if he didn’t.