New member of the UEFA Executive Committee, John Delaney, far right, pictured recently at the UEFA EURO 2020 Dublin City Brand Launch, with UEFA Executive Committee member Frantisek Laurinec, Cllr Dermot Lacey, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and FAI Chief Executive John Delaney. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie.
Waterford native, John Delaney has been elected to the UEFA Executive Committee after he received the second highest number of votes with 48, two fewer than Sweden’s Karl-Erik Nilsson, as 11 contenders stood for election to fill eight vacancies on European football’s supreme executive body in Helsinki.
The six other successful candidates were former Juventus and Poland star Zbigniew Boniek, former Manchester United chief executive Daivd Gill, German FA president Reinhard Grindel, Italian FA director Michele Uva, Dutch FA president Michael van Praag, and Turkey’s Servet Yardimci.
Delaney becomes the first Irish member of the influential governing body of the European Federation since the retirement of Des Casey in 2002.
FAI President Tony Fitzgerald said the elevation to the Executive Committee of UEFA was a “fantastic achievement for our CEO John Delaney and is a hugely positive reflection of Irish football in Europe. John has led the FAI successfully for more than 10 years overseeing the development of the game, initiating major infrastructure improvement and managing the financial well-being of the Association in the most challenging of times. His success within UEFA reflects the impact his work and that of the Association has had during his tenure as CEO on all strands of the game from Grassroots to elite football,” Fitzgerald added.
“John’s strategic capabilities set him apart. His passion for the development of the home of football – the Aviva Stadium, in conjunction with the IRFU and the Government, the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown and the winning of major tournament bids including the UEFA Europa League Final in 2011, UEFA Under-17 European Championships in 2019 and UEFA EURO 2020 are just some examples of the drive, determination and professionalism which earmarked John as a likely successful candidate within European football’s highest ranks.
“It is really a great boost for Irish football that John has successfully been elected to the UEFA Executive Committee,” Fitzgerald concluded.
John Delaney said he was both “honoured and delighted” to become a UEFA Executive Committee member.
“I want to thank the football family in Ireland for their hard work and support on behalf of our sport. Our success today reflects their endeavours as they drive football on every day and every week,” said Delaney.
“I represent the 400,000 members of the football community in Ireland and I am privileged to lead the game at Executive level. However, the mainstay of our game are the volunteers – our Board, Council, Committees as well as our clubs and leagues – all of which I represent in my role as CEO and now UEFA Executive Committee member.
“While Ireland may be regarded as one of the smaller footballing nations, we are known for punching above our weight and I look forward to bringing our voice and our views and experiences to the table in UEFA. I am looking forward to working with President Čeferin and my fellow UEFA Executive Committee members for the benefit of football throughout Europe in the coming years,” he said.
Minister of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, said today: “I would like to congratulate John Delaney on his election to the UEFA Executive Committee.
“This is a hugely positive development for Irish sport and for football, which will now have a significant voice at the decision-making end of the European game.”
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan TD, stated: “John Delaney’s election to the UEFA Executive Committee raises the profile of Irish football, it is a positive step to have someone at the top table of European football.”
Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of Sport Ireland, also congratulated John Delaney on his election saying: “On behalf of Sport Ireland I would like to congratulate John Delaney on his election to the UEFA Executive Committee. This is a very positive development, as one of the findings in the Rio Review, which is published today, is that Ireland needs more representation on international federations to influence decisions at the highest level. Sport Ireland welcomes that there will be an Irish voice on a key international federation.”