From todays Examiner. Of course hopefully at this stage we'll all be browsing through our German phrase books instead of worrying about play-offs!

FAI play waiting game on World Cup play-off venue plans

By Liam Mackey
THE Republic of Ireland could be forced to finish their World Cup qualifying campaign in Britain in the event of Brian Kerr’s team finishing second in Group 4 and having to take part in a two-leg play-off game.

Rugby internationals at Lansdowne Road in early November would overlap with the projected dates (12th and 16th) for the play-offs, meaning it would be impractical for the soccer team to play its home leg at the ground, regardless of the order of the draw.

With Croke Park only theoretically available to soccer during the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road, the FAI would have to look outside the island for a venue unless the GAA revisits the issue between now and November.

Celtic Park, Old Trafford, Anfield and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff have all been mentioned as possible alternative venues in the event of Lansdowne Road being unavailable, but FAI Chief Executive John Delaney refused to be drawn on specifics, saying the association would consider “all options” should the play-off situation come to pass.

“Obviously, the primary thing is to go and win the group and it doesn’t become an issue,” he said. “If it does occur we will have to look at alternative venues. My own belief is that it takes about ten days to get the bucket seats in and out, so it would be difficult to have a soccer international played at Lansdowne Road during those weeks if we were in a play-off situation.”

Delaney didn’t rule out the possibility of lobbying FIFA for an alternative date but suggested there were other avenues the association might explore.

“You could play in Lansdowne Road without bucket seats - that is an option though not a preferable one. Certainly, you could go cross-channel as well. But let’s wait and see how the group pans out.”