Sunday 28 December 2014

FAI tight-lipped on uefa loan reports

Published 10/06/2013 | 05:00

THE FAI have refused to comment on reports that they required advance payments from UEFA to meet their debt commitments to the Aviva Stadium.

UEFA's finance director Josef Koller told a Sunday newspaper that European football's governing body had met with the FAI's main creditor Danske Bank in March and agreed to fast-track money from UEFA's 'HatTrick' fund which is designated for projects that help grassroots football.

The FAI have a bank debt in excess of €50m arising from their commitment to the Aviva Stadium, with the situation complicated by extremely poor sales of the 10-year premium level tickets that were intended to go some way towards financing the project.

"It is a really difficult situation, because of the economic crisis, and we said 'OK, we can advance certain solidarity payments'," said Koller.

"I just said to John Delaney that if you want me to be there and I can assist by explaining it from UEFA'S point of view, I will do it," he added, with regard to the meeting.

"Danske felt very comfortable to have somebody from UEFA there, especially the finance director. It was really worthwhile to explain to Danske how important this is for us. It is very important that UEFA acts like an insurance company for European football."

'DREAM COME TRUE' AS MCCAREY GETS THE CALL

Aaron McCarey (below), the Ireland U-21 goalkeeper, received a late call-up to join the travelling party for the US trip but there was one downside for the Monaghan native – he had to cancel his plans to go and watch his county's footballers in action yesterday.

His good friend, Kieran Hughes, was in action for Monaghan in their Ulster Championship victory over Antrim.

McCarey, who is hoping to make a first-team breakthrough at Wolves after their drop to League One, admitted that he was overjoyed by the call to replace the injured Keiren Westwood.

"Everything has changed and for all the right reasons," said McCarey, speaking about his weekend plans. "It is a dream come true, and it's one of those situations where, if it goes well, there might be another opportunity coming along in the future."

IRELAND TO FACE FULL HOUSE IN VIENNA TEST

PROOF, if it were needed, of Austria's intensifying World Cup ambitions came over the weekend when they announced a sell-out for their next home tie, against Ireland on September 10.

As with last Friday's vital 2-1 win over Sweden, the Ernst-Happel Stadium will be packed to near-50,000 capacity when Giovanni Trapattoni's men travel to Vienna for a match integral to the race for the runners-up spot in Group C.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

2 Members of the Ireland squad who were present on the last tour to the US under Steve Staunton. The two survivors are Andy Keogh and Stephen Kelly.

Irish Independent

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