John Delaney, the chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland, has announced that he is to take a pay cut of 10% which brings his salary down from €400,000 to €360,000. Even with his pay cut Delaney will be payed more than the prize money for the entire League. It cost €19,000 euro to enter the league yet if a club finishes fourth in the league they will receive a measly €15,000 euro. Delany could pay for €4,500 worth of Irish fans’ drinks in Poland, while at the same time Monaghan are allowed to fold because of debts of €6,000.
Monaghan United have dropped out of the League of Ireland and at present Dundalk will be added to the list of clubs that have gone to the wall on the FAI’s watch.
It is quite clear that the FAI are only motivated by the glamour and money of the national team, investing only a fraction of resources into its local league.
More people play football than any other game in the country. Football in Ireland should be flourishing but at national league level it is in serious difficulty. Since the FAI has taken over the running of the League in 2007, seven clubs have gone bust.
To save the game firstly, investment from the government and the FAI must be put into grass roots football and local clubs. This means investing in facilities and player development, not in the wages of Chief Executives.