SOCCER bosses are confident that English hooligans can be kept out of the Aviva Stadium if a friendly game is arranged between Ireland and England.
A Euro 2012 warm-up game between the arch rivals was a very real possibility today - but only if they don't draw each other for the actual tournament.
The biggest ever security operation for a sporting event will be put in place to ensure there is no repeat of the 1995 rampage by English thugs.
Football associations on both sides of the Irish Sea have now admitted that negotiations have been under way for some time.
"I think there is real enthusiasm, particularly from the English FA, to have England in Dublin sooner rather than later," said FAI chief executive John Delaney.
However, there would be massive security implications given that their last meeting had to be abandoned after English fans started to rip up seats from the old Lansdowne Road.
That game lasted just 27 minutes before the teams had to be rushed off the pitch.
At the time, Irish manager Jack Charlton said that he had "seen a lot in football, but nothing like this".
Asked about the likelihood of a friendly game against England, Giovanni Trapattoni said: "Two years we ask them but the diary was busy. Now, I think England accept."
If the game is given the green light it is likely to be played in February.