Saturday 23 September 2017

Irish soccer sabotaged

Sir -- Despite confirmation from Gaelic Athletic Association officials that Croke Park would be made available to host the Ireland v Brazil soccer friendly scheduled for March 2, the Football Association of Ireland has decided to stage the match in Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in London.

The decision to play what is effectively a home fixture in a foreign country when a stadium like Croke Park has been made available, raises serious questions. Already the FAI has distanced itself from this decision, claiming that the fixture was organised by the sports event promoters Kentaro.

The FAI has an obligation, both to its supporters and to Ireland, to ensure that its home matches are played in Ireland. In making its case to the GAA authorities for a relaxation of Rule 42 to allow 'foreign' games to be played in Croke Park, the FAI argued, rightly, that it would be unthinkable and immoral to force the Irish national team to play their home games abroad when a state-of-the-art stadium was lying idle at home.

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