John Delaney is to step aside as chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland to take up the newly-created post of executive vice-president.
Delaney, who has spent the past week defending himself after newspaper reports suggested that he loaned the association £100,000 to cover a cash-flow problem in 2017, has left his current post with immediate effect.
The news was confirmed in an FAI statement released on Saturday evening just minutes after Ireland’s 1-0 Euro 2020 qualifier victory in Gibraltar, at which he was present.
It said: “The Board of the Football Association of Ireland has adopted a review of its senior management structure that will see chief executive officer John Delaney move to a new position of executive vice-president with immediate effect.
“Chief operating officer Rea Walshe has been appointed to the role of Interim CEO by the Board as the recruitment process begins for a new chief executive officer.”
Delaney’s new role will see him take responsibility for “a range of international matters and special projects on behalf of the FAI”.
FAI president Donal Conway said: “On behalf of the board and the members of the association, I want to thank John for everything he has done for the FAI and for Irish football. He has transformed how we operate as an association.
“This new role will allow John to utilise his vast experience and connections in the world of football and will best serve the FAI as we look to the future and our new strategic plan for Irish football which is currently a work in progress.
“John will continue to represent us at UEFA level as we look ahead to next year when the Aviva Stadium will host four games at the EURO 2020 finals thanks to his influence at European level.
“We host the UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals this summer, which will bring 9,000 bed spaces to Dublin, we celebrate the centenaries of the FAI and the SSE Airtricity League early in the new decade and the bi-centenary of the women’s game in Ireland.
“John is already leading our joint-bid with the Irish FA for the UEFA Under-21 Championships in 2023 and is working closely with the FAs in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales on the feasibility of a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup.
“John’s life has been devoted to Irish football and he will bring the same energy, vitality and inspiration to this new role. We will now begin the recruitment process for a new CEO with an expected appointment ahead of our AGM in Trim at the end of July.”
Delaney was installed as chief executive in March 2005 and his at times controversial tenure saw him preside over the redevelopment of the Aviva Stadium and its financial implications.
He said: “There have been many challenges for Irish football in my time as CEO and I will be the first to acknowledge that, but I have always given my best for Irish football and I will continue to do that in this new role.
“This past fortnight has been very difficult for me on a personal and professional level, and I would like to thank the Board and my work colleagues across the FAI for their support.
“It is time now for a new start and I am really looking forward to serving Irish football as best I can as executive vice-president.”