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Thread: FAI is the big loser as funding deal falters

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    Angry FAI is the big loser as funding deal falters

    FAI is the big loser as funding deal falters



    The FAI is facing a dual humiliation after the Government's decision not to provide funding for a proposed national stadium, writes Emmet Malone.

    The news that the Government will not after all provide funding for the proposed national stadium is another serious blow to the FAI and its hopes of finding a ground it can one day call its home.

    Its original plan, to build the 45,000 seat Eircom Park at Citywest, was abandoned in March of last year when escalating costs, doubts about potential revenues and, most importantly, the offer of a free alternative from the Government persuaded its ruling national council to change direction.

    The association had, by the time it agreed to switch its focus to Stadium Ireland, spent all of its financial reserves on the proposed development of Eircom Park. But the agreement it reached with the Government held out the promise of hugely increased funding of its work as well as the provision of the stadium itself.

    Under the terms of the agreement, the FAI was to pay a modest fee each time it used the stadium but it would, in contrast to its position at Lansdowne Road, be free to raise substantial capital by selling the ground's corporate boxes and greatly increased revenue from its games, as it would keep a higher percentage of the money generated by tickets, television rights and advertising sales.

    The deal ultimately caused problems for the association's general secretary and Eircom Park's chief proponent, Bernard O'Byrne, and he was replaced by one of those centrally involved in pursuing the Government alternative - Brendan Menton.

    Almost immediately, elements of the funding package agreed began to come on stream and there has been a dramatic acceleration during the past year in the number of development projects assisted by the FAI. The stadium element of the deal, however, was estimated to be worth upwards of €2.5 million in additional revenue annually to Merrion Square. There has been growing frustration within the game during the past year that the firm commitments received from the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, to the effect that it would be built showed no signs of translating into building work.

    The situation was complicated at the start of this year when the association, again with the backing of the Government, agreed to become part of a joint bid with its Scottish counterpart, to host the European Championships in 2008. As its contribution to the bid, Ireland is expected to provide two stadiums of at least 30,000 seats each. The FAI appears to have seen the opportunity to become involved in the bid process - which will be concluded in December when the game's European governing body UEFA will decide where the event is to be held - as a way of pressing the Government into moving on its plans for Stadium Ireland.

    Although officially the bid has always been based on the possibility of using any two from three stadiums (Stadium Ireland, Croke Park and Lansdowne Road) there has been little genuine interest among senior football officials in using the GAA's ground, which it would be expected to pay for in the same way it does for the IRFU's at present.

    Yesterday's decision by the Government potentially leaves the FAI's senior officials facing the dual humiliation of on the one hand having to admit to their members that they are in no better a position to "deliver" Stadium Ireland, and on the other having to inform their Scottish counterparts that the Irish end of the 2008 bid is in very serious difficulty.



    [SIZE=1]from The Irish Times [/SIZE]

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    The bid for Euro2008 looks like a shambles now, the Scottish FA will blame the whole fiasco on the FAI, no stadium for soccer in Ireland and all this following on from the eL debacle last season, the WC/Keane/McCarthy ignominy, their continued insistence on backing McCarthy and the pr disaster of the Sky deal.
    Has there ever been a bigger joke of a football organisation anywhere in the world ??

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    I never thought the Euro 2008 bid had much chance anyway, but that finally kills it. Along with football in this country being shafted yesterday the Scottish FA have also been shafted - we won't live this down for quite a while. As I've said before, I don't really blame Ahern for this (although I really dislike him because of other issues), I don't think EP was ever viable financially without a big handout from government which may or may not have happened (judging by yesterdays shennanigans it wouldn't have happened).

    The one I really blame for this fiasco is the remorseless eating machine known as Mary Harney. She blocked this (along with most of the sun) because she had her eye on the €300m to buy cakes and pies for herself to keep her going for the next six months. Seriously, does anyone expect that €300m to be put to a better use and not be frittered away? I seriously doubt that this decision will make any differnece to the health service or whatever the fashionable whinge is at the moment.

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    Originally posted by MikeW
    As I've said before, I don't really blame Ahern for this (although I really dislike him because of other issues)
    Why not? It was his continued insistence that the Abbotstown monstrosity be built which has really f*cked this up.
    If he really wanted a national stadium, why not build a 65,000 seater down in the docklands for around €250-300 million, the building of which could have been started 2 or 3 years ago.
    The pr*ck was trying to be too clever, giving that last minute handout to make sure the GAA decided against allowing soccer at Croke Park, refusing to countenence the refurbishment of Landsdowne road and dismissing any other option.
    On top of this, the FAI themselves could have come up with a plan to do something with Dalymount Park, which could be upgraded to a 45,000 seater with a bit of imagination. The space is there, so go and talk to the architects who designed Croke Park, an absolute triumph of making the best possible use of limited available space. This could still be done now, but the bottom line is that Ahern doesn't give a f*ck for soccer, he just wanted a monument to himself. He must be the biggest chancer, slimeball and creep to ever get into power here, and he fooled the pitiful dopes who run soccer in Ireland into a complete and utter fiasco.......

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    Exclamation Blame Bertie!

    Bertie Bowl is dead, Euro 2008 bid is dead & the person/people to blame are Bertie Ahern & his previous government.

    Croke Park gets 100m & fair dues to them. If EP got maybe even 50m when in fact it should be entitled to 100 just like the GAA (football is the higgest participation sport in the country) then Ep would surely have been a lot more viable than Berties Bowl.

    IMO this shows once again the FAI & irish football cannot rely on the government to finance them & need to generate as much income as they can themselves. Without the threat of EP the FAI would never have been bribed by Bertie with the 50m or so thats supposed to be on its way in the coming years! This shows the importance of fair market deals like the SKy tv money for a couple of games a year at most!

    btw euro 2008 is dead because if Croke Park to be used on once off basis then Lansdowne road will never refurbishment & therefore capacity reduction - 30k or so is not enough for the IRFU internationals so they will need guarantees of using croke Park for the big internationals which they are very unlikely to get!

    Remember Bertie gave his GAA friends 60m the night before the crutical "foreign games" vote than was only defeated by a few votes.
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    I think there was so much opposition to any stadium being built with taxpayers money by the "think of the children" whingers that it wouldn't matter if it was built in the docklands or anywhere else. But I agree that if the plans were more reasonable and it wasn't held up at every turn by grubby politicians demanding public enquiries and tribunals and what-not then at least there's some possibility a decent sized stadium could be up and running somewhere by now.

    The reason I don't fully blame Ahern for this (and this is about the only thing I'll defend him on because he could've handled the whole affair far better) is because he was about the only high-profile politician who wanted a stadium of any description built. All of the rest seemed to be extremely anti the idea, pandering to the perception the media put out that spending money on anything other than the health service is evil and using the Croke Park red herring as ammunition against any new stadium.

    By the way, I think the FAI did look into rebuilding Dalymount but it was dumped in favour of a greenfield site i.e. Eircom Park, because it would've been easier to build!

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    Originally posted by MikeW
    The reason I don't fully blame Ahern for this (and this is about the only thing I'll defend him on because he could've handled the whole affair far better) is because he was about the only high-profile politician who wanted a stadium of any description built. All of the rest seemed to be extremely anti the idea,
    I wouldn't say that. Quite a few politicos said they were in favour of a national stadium, and indeed Ireland needed one, they were anti Abbottstown, both the scale and the location. Most of them would have gone along with a more realistic proposition.
    Remember, Ahern wanted a golf academy, a velodrome and all sorts of mad sh*t out there.

    By the way, I think the FAI did look into rebuilding Dalymount but it was dumped in favour of a greenfield site i.e. Eircom Park, because it would've been easier to build!

    Yeah, but that would have been based on Boll*xy O'Byrne's completely imaginary figure of £65 million
    to build eircom Park.
    €50 million would go along way to turning Dalyer into a half decent ground that irish soccer could use for itself.
    It would not be state of the art, but it would be better than renting LR from the rugger buggers.

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    I think a lot of politicians supported the concept of a National Stadium, but most of them wanted Croke Park to be that stadium. Personally I have little time for people who want that to happen. There are so many reasons why its a bad idea and it won't work that I don't want to go into here. You're right about EP, the costs were ridiculously understated and it would've crippled the FAI financially, the only other national association I can think of who own their own stadium is the Scots and Hampden Park was built almost exclusively using lottery money from england.

    I don't know about Dalymount, I thought there were problems with access there or something and thats partly why the FAI rejected the idea originally. Anyone know anything about this?

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    Originally posted by MikeW
    I don't know about Dalymount, I thought there were problems with access there or something and thats partly why the FAI rejected the idea originally. Anyone know anything about this?
    You could be right, I'm not completely sure. However, main point I was trying to get at, is that the FAI are NEVER pro-active. They won't get up off there arses to do anything, or come up with new idea's themselves. I suppose the Sky deal was the first time they tried to do anything and then they completely undersold it, and caused the ensuing pr debacle.

    EVERY tuppeny hapenny GAA club in the country has a decent pitch, club house with a bar and decent dressingrooms. There must be about 3,000 of these around the country. They have all got up off their arses, and put a huge amount of work into this THEMSELVES.

    We actually only need one between the lot of us yet the FAI continue to f*ck things up, and hope someone else will come along and solve things for them. It can be seen over the last few years that the FAI have only done things when they were embarrased into doing it by people complaining loudly and publicly for changes. I f*ckin dispair at times over this crowd.

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    Thumbs down

    Bertie may be able to get some credit from some people because he pused the idea of a "state of the art" (whatever that means) sports stadium.

    [begin rant]

    Berties actions however have to be viewed in light of the manner he undermined EP by getting the Dept of Defense to object to it on spurious flight path concerns & divided the FAI into getting the Fianna Failers onside with his ego trip in Abbotstown.

    Access around Dalymount is a red herring too as the GAA don't seem to have any problems with an 80k capacity stadium with zero parking - any innocent who tries to get around with 3 miles of Croke Park on a GAA sunday in Dublin can see how much the lack of parking congests the traffic unecessarily.

    I'm glad to see goes around comes around & maybe Bertie will learn a valuable lesson about having done to him what he did to others.

    btw IMO the BB costs of around 600m fail to include many extra infrastructural projects which would have to build or paid for that otherwise would not be needed - EP while maybe a bit underpriced at £125 or so had to include extra roads & parking facilities.

    One rule for the FAI/football & another for everyone else.

    [end rant]
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    I actually have a little sympathy for the FAI - the Government bullied them out of EP with the promise of the "Bertie Bowl". I know the whole EP project was running into a bit of a farce, but if the government had gone with it and lent its support we would soon have a state-of-the-art stadium to fulfill the needs of football in this country. Typically a carrott was dangled in the FAI's face and they took the easy way out. Now the FAI are so far up sh!t creek that it ain't funny anymore.

    The biggest losers will probably be the SFA but they probably deserve it for being stupid enough to choose the FAI over the FAW
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    I blame both Bertie and the FAI. The FAI as we all know, couldn't run a ****-up in a brewery, and Berite makes other politicians seem honest and trustworthy- it was a recipe for disaster.

    IMO, we don't deserve a major soccer championships anyway- the number of real socer fans in this country is negligible. When the majority of irish people support Irish teams, then we can think about hosting a tournament.

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