Friday 18 August 2017

Delaney says GAA's Croker stance forced FAI's hand on Aviva decision

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

John Delaney has hit out at the GAA in the deepening debate over the availability of Croke Park once the Aviva Stadium has been opened.

The FAI chief executive yesterday again ruled out a return for the international soccer team to the venue for at least 10 years.

And he stated that the organisation might not have gone ahead with plans to rebuild Lansdowne Road if they had known that Croke Park would be available to them in the long term.

The GAA only agreed to open its doors in 2007 on the condition that rugby and soccer would be temporary tenants during the reconstruction of Lansdowne Road.

But the financial success of staging international games at headquarters has seen a change in attitude at Croke Park, and it is expected that a motion will be passed at Congress in April to keep the stadium open to other sports.

position

Delaney poured cold water over potentially moving bigger games to the stadium, stating that the GAA's initial position meant that the IRFU and FAI were forced to make their own plans which has seen them sign long-term contracts with suppliers and sponsors.

"Had it been made clear going in that Croke Park would remain open in the longer term, I think that discussion could have taken place," he said yesterday.

"But it was made clear to both Philip Browne (IRFU CEO) and myself when we attended the first meetings that Croke Park was not going to become available to us in the longer haul."

Delaney's comments came after the FAI confirmed that Ireland are to play Brazil in a friendly at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium on March 3. Croke Park had bid to host the friendly, but organisers Kentaro opted to stage it in north London.

Irish Independent

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