It can be hard being a sports fan sometimes: when your team is knocked out of a tournament, or a team sells another player, or the U.S. or Russia beats Canada. These are all hard, but nothing is more frustrating than when it’s discovered that the whole governing body of a sport is corrupt.
A prime example of this is what’s currently going on with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), whose entire board resigned in April after John Delaney, the CEO, appeared before the Oireachtas (parliament) Committee on Tourism, Transport and Sport after he made statements that he gave a €100,000 (Cdn$150,547.50) loan to help the association during what he said was a short-term cash problem. The FAI said it was a “bridging loan” on behalf of Delaney and that it was to have been repaid in June 2017, two months after it was given.
When he appeared before the committee Delaney said, “On legal advice, I am precluded from making any further comments at this hearing in relation to the finances of the Association or my former role as CEO or the €100,000 payment directly or indirectly.”
He, and the FAI, got immediate flak in the scandal, with hundreds of clubs under the FAI banner voting on whether the FAI board should resign. In March it was announced that Delaney would cease his role immediately, and he was instead appointed as executive vice-president.
In the course of the scandal, it was discovered that the FAI gave Delaney a benefit-in-kind of €36,000 annually towards renting his house, despite his cut of all FAI staff wages by 10 per cent in 2012 and him saying he would do the same for his wages. He was already making €300,000 more than most of the staff to begin with.
Sports scandals aren’t unique to just soccer or Ireland, though.
The Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer (MLS) are dealing with the fallout of an alleged sexually abusive former coach on the women’s team from 2008-2011. It has caused some supporters to temporarily turn their back on the franchise during games until the Whitecaps properly address it.
Some people might also remember Alan Eagleson, who had a major influence in the hockey world as an agent and as the executive director of the NHL Players’ Association. Some of his clients were Bobby Orr, Darryl Sittler, and Lanny McDonald. He was also a major player in promoting the game internationally, organizing the 1972 Summit Series (where he worked hard to exclude players from the WHL) and the First Canada Cup.
His power came to an end, though, when it was found out Eaglson was stealing money from his clients and embezzling player pension funds, most famously Orr’s, who went bankrupt from tax liabilities due to Eagleson’s meddling.