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'Huge benefits' from hosting U21 Euros with North

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EURO BID: FAI CEO John Delaney and IFA CEO Patrick Nelson are pictured at the announcement of a joint bid by both associations to host the UEFA Under-21 Championship in 2023. Photo: SPORTSFILE

EURO BID: FAI CEO John Delaney and IFA CEO Patrick Nelson are pictured at the announcement of a joint bid by both associations to host the UEFA Under-21 Championship in 2023. Photo: SPORTSFILE

EURO BID: FAI CEO John Delaney and IFA CEO Patrick Nelson are pictured at the announcement of a joint bid by both associations to host the UEFA Under-21 Championship in 2023. Photo: SPORTSFILE

A joint bid by the FAI and it's rival association in the North, the IFA, to host a major football tournament in Europe could have "huge economic benefits" for both countries, it has been claimed.

The FAI and the North's Irish Football Association revealed they are to make a bid to host the Uefa Under-21 Championship in 2023.

It is the second biggest football tournament in Europe after the Uefa Euros.

The formal bid will be put together next year, with the decision expected to be made in 2020.

The joint bid, which is the first between both associations, will face competition from potentially 53 other nations.

If successful, the tournament could inject £20 million into the local economies and 100,000 overnight stays.

Potential venues to host games include the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Windsor Park in Belfast, Tallaght Stadium and Ballymena Showgrounds.

Speaking at Windsor Park, Donal Conway, president of the FAI, said the bid highlights some of the work both organisations have been involved in.

"The thrust of this is that it's co-operation, it's a joint bid by both associations," he added.

"I look forward to a successful outcome to this bidding process.

"What a way to inspire the young boys and young girls in both of our countries - coming to games in Belfast, Cork, Ballymena, Limerick and Dublin.

"I look forward to what today represents, our continuing good relationships with our neighbours in Northern Ireland."

FAI chief executive John Delaney said: "It's a historic announcement and it illustrates the continued greater co-operation between both associations.

"If we are successful in the bid, the final will be here in the national stadium in Belfast."

IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson said that if the bid is successful, it will have "huge positive economic benefits".

He added that both associations will continue to work together against the "confusing backdrop of Brexit".

"While no-one can be sure how the future arrangements will work after March, we can be certain that there will be the FAI and IFA, both separately responsible for promoting the games in our countries," he said.

"We will make a strong case to host these finals in 2023."


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