Not matter what spin is put on the story, the bottom line is that it is still an outrageous sum of money for any sporting organisation to pay its leading administrator at a time when so many clubs across the country are finding it increasingly hard to make ends met.
It is also unsustainable in view of the FAI’s massive debt of €63 million in respect of its role in developing the Aviva Stadium as well as what’s owned to other creditors.
To put the figure in perspective, he is understood to be getting more than the combined total paid to his counterparts at the GAA and the IRFU while his salary is €160,000 greater than that of An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, whose responsibilities are, needless to say, far more taxing.
When his contract with the FAI had been extended to 2015 two years ago, his salary rose to €431,687. Although it has been reduced by over €71,000 since then, the excessive outlay does not sit well with ordinary football people.
Delaney, himself, obviously sees a problem with it as a result of taking three pay cuts in the space of 18 months. But he is not addressing the issue as seriously as he should.
Speaking at the annual general meeting of the FAI in Letterkenny at the weekend, he said: “I volunteered a 10 per cent wage cut to show leadership. Before I took this role, I was paid more and I’ve been offered jobs while in the role at more money. When I took the job (in 2005) I was offered a contract and I signed it.”
When asked how he could justify his salary when the number of FAI employees had been reduced to 173, he stated: “It is never easy to make anyone redundant. There were 50-odd jobs when I took over, so I’ve created a lot of jobs for the association with the support of the board.”
Few can question the fact that he is good at his job and devotes long hours to it, but he is losing the public relations battle and it is not helping the image of the sport.
Delaney came in for some criticism for his socialising with Irish fans in Poland at Euro 2012 last month.
When questioned on the matter by a national newspaper, he said he took ‘grave offence’ at criticism of his behaviour and insisted that he was ‘entitled’ to a night out.
In the wide-ranging interview, he refused to answer other questions about his socialising in Sopot, complaining that the association's good work at the tournament, at which Ireland failed to claim a single point, was overlooked while his night-time behaviour was being highlighted.
“I think that’s something I'm entitled to do on the odd occasion when I'm there," he argued.
He pointed out that the tournament had been a success from an administrative point of view, insisting that, 10 years on from Saipan, there was no repeat of that debacle.
There can be little doubt a number of national media vultures are circling over the head of Delaney and they are unlikely to go away for some time to come.
Against the background of this soap opera, the FAI cut grant aid paid to clubs and leagues around the country by €377,000 last year due to the costs of paying down debt from the development of the Aviva Stadium.
This happened despite the fact turnover rose by €5.8 million due to the large attendances at Ireland’s Euro 2012 qualifiers against Armenia and Estonia.
And while the sport may have enjoyed a golden era over the past 20 years, there is growing evidence the game is in decline in every corner of the country due to emigration and the recession.
While the Gaelic games and rugby are also suffering in similar fashion, they appear to have better support structures in place to cope.