FAI aiming to make bid for Super Cup
The FAI are aiming to make a bid for a European Super Cup final if next month's Europa League decider makes a good impression on the continent's football hierarchy.
UEFA president Michel Platini was present in Dublin yesterday for the official handover of the trophy from holders Atletico Madrid to the city ahead of the May 18 showpiece.
FAI CEO John Delaney is confident the Aviva Stadium event will be a success and a sell-out, despite the exits of Liverpool and Manchester City from the competition.
He accepts that their absence will reduce the financial benefit of the game to the capital, but said that officials of semi-finalists Benfica, Braga, Porto and Villarreal have indicated they will all take their 12,000 allocation if they make the big day.
Adding in other visitors from around the continent, Delaney believes there will be 35,000 travelling fans, plus over 10,000 from Ireland, with 7,000 drawn from the lottery system and 3,000 going to the grassroots.
With a further 14,000 on the waiting list from the Irish ballot, he insisted that any potential gaps could be filled. "The game will be sold out, there's no question about that," he stressed.
Delaney is also sure that the surface at the Aviva will meet UEFA standards, after a meeting with the Sports Turf Research Institute about problems that arose in the recent Irish internationals following a hectic period at the Dublin 4 venue. If Leinster and Ulster had both made the Heineken Cup semi-finals, the Leinster game would have been moved to Croke Park but the Northerners ultimately fell short against Northampton.
If all goes to plan, Delaney suggested that the FAI will make a bid for the European Super Cup, which currently takes place in Monaco every August and brings together the Champions League and Europa League winners.
The game will be rotated from 2012, with the FAI looking at beyond 2015 as a realistic timeframe. A more immediate goal is a revived joint bid for the European U-21 Championships with Northern Ireland. Four venues are required, and the Aviva, Windsor Park, Thomond Park and an upgraded Tallaght Stadium would come into consideration.
Of course, the association has pressing financial concerns, but they were off the agenda in Kilmainham, as was any discussion of Giovanni Trapattoni's contractual situation.
Delaney hadn't spoken to print media since December, when he announced that he would be taking a cut on his €400,000+ salary and promised he would reveal the details in due course.
Asked for that information, he said all will be revealed at a May 9 launch of events surrounding this year's AGM in Clare.