Jordan gives FAI red card on pay

Former racing team supremo says the soccer body ‘must not rely on hadouts’ to fund manager Trapattoni’s wages

Eddie Jordan was part of the early stages of the deal which saw Denis O?Brien agree to pay Giovanni Trapattoni’s wages
Paul Rowan, Irish Football Correspondent

Eddie Jordan, the founder and former boss of Jordan Grand Prix, says its time for the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) to get off the potty, stand on its own two feet and stop depending on hand-outs from benefactors to pay the salary of Giovanni Trapattoni, the national team manager.

The millionaires comments will be greeted with dismay by the FAI, as the flamboyant businessman was involved in the initial stages of the deal that resulted in Denis OBrien, the telecoms billionaire, agreeing to pay half Trapattonis 2m salary when the Italian veteran took charge of the Republic of Ireland football team in 2008.

His assistants, Marco Tardelli and Liam Brady, are believed to be earning 500,000 each. OBrien, No 3 on the Sunday Times Rich List with a fortune of 1.9 billion, is understood to be paying half their cost too.

Last week Trapattoni, 70, made it clear he wants to stay on as Republic of Ireland manager when his contract expires at the end of the World Cup qualifying campaign later this year. Ireland is currently placed second in its group and is considered to have a real prospect of playing in the finals in South Africa next summer.

OBrien met John Delaney, the FAI chief executive, on Thursday, three days after Trapattoni made his intentions known.

If it was me, Jordan told The Sunday Times, I would say no. Denis should say, Ive made this possible, Ive made it possible for you to select the right man, were nearly there to South Africa.

It makes it too easy on the FAI. The FAI needs to get off the potty and get themselves sorted and, if there is a shortfall, I am sure the people of Ireland will not see them wanting in terms of what they need to get.

Jordans comments come at a time when the FAI is facing an acute financial squeeze following the slow sale of 10-year tickets for the revamped Lansdowne Road stadium. Given its current plight, there is a question mark over its ability to finance fully the cost of Trapattoni and his backroom team.

Jordan made it clear that he felt Trapattoni had done a good job and deserved a new contract but without OBriens financial assistance.

We are all massive Irish sports fans but the world has tightened up and not everybody has the disposable income they once had. The FAI have had very big returns out of Croke Park and other venues. We go there to buy tickets to watch the game. We dont want to be owners and managers of the football team.

Jordan, who is now a Formula One pundit for the BBC and a drummer with Eddie and the Robbers, his occasional rock band, also revealed for the first time the role he played in the financing of Trapattonis appointment last year after the sacking of Steve Staunton.

Denis and I talk from time to time, Jordan says. We are good friends and Ireland comes up a lot. Hes very passionate about it, as I am, particularly in sporting terms.

I think in a throwaway line I said, Denis, you ought to [finance Trapattoni]. That is just what is needed. Thats not going to happen without somebody putting their hands in their pocket. He rang me up later and said, What do you think? and I said that [Trapattoni] is good. Hes been around for centuries and, with no disrespect to the managers that we have had, we need somebody with international acclaim who knows what he is doing.

Despite Jordans misgivings, OBriens meeting with Delaney in Dublin last week will raise hopes among supporters that he is prepared to write a cheque again if required.

Its too far away to say what will happen, OBrien told The Sunday Times after the meeting. Whether I continue to be involved is between myself and the FAI.

OBrien praised the FAI and the progress of the team under Trapattoni. I could not be happier with the way the FAI conducted their search for the manager. I had absolutely no say in who they chose and the way they did it. They were very professional.

I would have thought that everybody would be very pleased with Trapattoni. What he has done with the team is absolutely terrific.

OBrien said his sports sponsorship globally had not diminished, despite his feeling the effects of the credit crunch. Weve kept all our commitments. That wont change. We havent decreased our sponsorship in any way.

The FAI wont comment on contractual matters concerning Trapattoni. However, Delaney is due to give a press conference tomorrow in Dublin and Trapattonis contract is bound to be top of the agenda.