Thursday 14 December 2017

Delaney eager to cash in on avoiding England

FAI chief executive John Delaney celebrates with Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni after qualifying for Euro 2012
FAI chief executive John Delaney celebrates with Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni after qualifying for Euro 2012
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

FAI CEO John Delaney wants to avoid England for financial reasons and the Ukraine for logistical reasons ahead of this evening's Euro 2012 draw in Kiev.

The FAI are keen to play a long-awaited money-spinning friendly with England in Dublin either in February or May, but that will be off the agenda if the two nations are paired together.

"If we draw them, that's out," said Delaney yesterday. "I'd like to have the friendly in Dublin sooner rather than later, but if we get 'em, we get 'em."

Meanwhile, although the FAI are determined to make Poland their base camp for the duration of the finals, they have a better chance of securing their preferred training centre if they are drawn to play their games in that country and if other nations -- including Spain -- are designated to the Ukraine.

Ireland have inspected bases in northern Poland, but Spain have a first preference on a venue the FAI would like. The champions may consider moving elsewhere if they are landed in one of the two Ukraine groups.

"The manager wants to stay in Poland," said Delaney, with respect to Giovanni Trapattoni's preferences.

"The €40,000 allowance that UEFA give for each flight is very helpful towards that. We have a couple of options which we have prepared. There was one in Donesk that we could have stayed in as well, but I think it's more likely that even if we're drawn in Ukraine, we'll be based in Poland.

"We're a priority in one base and in other cases we're probably second or third in line, but certainly we've identified one place in Poland that we'd like to stay."

Delaney expects clarity this evening, and wants all the arrangements hammered down before Christmas. After that, Trapattoni is keen for the pre-tournament friendly opponents to be similar to the teams they will play in the finals. There's a possibility that February's friendly will be away, before two Dublin matches in May.

The Waterford man is aware that the association have a responsibility to get the build-up correct, with a subtle reference to events in Saipan. "We want to make sure the training camp is correct," said Delaney. "Ultimately, hotels are hotels. The most important thing is to get the pitch right, not like a while back.

"We want to get our tournament training camp and hotel picked quickly, absolutely. Then, we can organise our pre-tournament training camp, where we're going to be based after whatever games we have in May.

"This will be in Portugal, Austria or Germany. I think it will depend on whether we are drawn in the Ukraine -- in which case Trapattoni would prefer to be nearer to central Europe -- or if it's Poland, we might go to Portugal."

The preparations will come at a cost, but Delaney has no problem with that due to the financial rewards of making the finals. He predicts a €4m net profit before the revenue from friendlies and bonuses for winning and drawing games. The money will go towards servicing Aviva Stadium debt.

Travel arrangements and bonuses for players will eat into the original €8m reward for making the finals, but Delaney says there will be no discussions with the squad about their cut until the new year.

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