FAI chief executive John Delaney has admitted the association will continue to have an "understanding" with Martin O'Neill that allows him to talk to the other clubs, and that there's little they could do if the Derryman decided he wanted to move on. 

O'Neill's very public flirtation with Stoke City ended on Sunday when he turned down the chance to take the reins and the Potters instead turned to Paul Lambert.

After a week of twists and turns in which neither the manager or the FAI commented on the situation, O'Neill eventually gave a short interview to an FAI staff member to say he had "agreed terms" with the association.

Delaney expects the contract to finally be signed before next Wednesday's UEFA Nations League draw, though he admitted this may not be the last time such a scenario plays out.

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The chief executive also revealed the FAI would have been entitled to compensation if O'Neill had joined the Potters despite the 65-year-old technically being out of contract.

"It's not so much a clause, it's an understanding," Delaney said at the announcement of the Aviva Stadium's sponsorship extension, which will now run to 2025.

"There have been many approaches to Martin since he has joined us as manager. We've always had an open, a very honest relationship.

"If any approaches are made, he'll inform us. If an employee wants to leave an employer, you can't stop them. It's like if a footballer wants to leave Liverpool and go to Barcelona then they'll go.

"Martin O'Neill, if he wanted to manage Stoke City or other clubs, he would have done so by now, but he doesn't.

"If the manager was to leave then compensation would be due to the association, but it's not something that's happened.

"His representatives will be in on Monday. They'll meet with our legal team, and the contract will be signed prior to the Nations League draw next week."

Delaney says he never doubted O'Neill would remain in charge of the national team

Delaney insisted that he had complete faith that O'Neill would stay with Ireland.

He said the manager was given time to reflect on his future plans after the shattering 5-1 play-off loss to Denmark in November. 

Shortly after that defeat, O'Neill's name was heavily linked with the Everton job, which eventually went to Sam Allardyce, and he reportedly would have gone to Stoke if they'd offered him a longer-term contract.

Despite that, Delaney said he never believed the boss would jump ship, and backed him to rebuild this Ireland team after the devastating hammering against the Danes.

"When he rang me on Saturday to say he was meeting with Stoke, on balance I have to say I thought he'd be ringing on Sunday to say he was was going to stay with the Republic of Ireland," he said. 

"He rang me on Sunday afternoon to say he'd respectively declined the offer from Stoke City. He's had other offers as well.

"There's a lot of trust between the manager and the association. I always felt he would stay. The night of the Denmark game was not the way for Martin to finish his Republic of Ireland manager.

"I felt and the association felt there was still unfinished business."