No more free booze for Green Army, says FAI chief John Delaney
FAI chief John Delaney won't be providing any free bars for Irish supporters in Poland at the European Championships in June.
The organisation's chief executive, who famously provided a free bar for fans after victory over Estonia in Tallinn last year, was yesterday questioned on the issue at the launch of a guide to responsible drinking for Euro 2012 next month.
The Euro 2012 Survival Guide was developed by drinkaware.ie and also includes tips on travelling safely to and in Poland, local currency, what to do in an emergency and contacts for the local Irish embassy.
Mr Delaney predicted that record numbers of fans would be travelling to Poland in June, adding that Irish supporters were always well behaved and he expected this year to be no different.
Last year Mr Delaney, who earns in the region of €400,000 a year, walked into a bar in Tallinn and put an undisclosed amount of money behind the counter for supporters. He later claimed to have paid the tab out of his own pocket.
It was not the first time Mr Delaney had bought a big round for travelling supporters. In October 2010, when Ireland played Slovakia, he paid around €5,000 for drinks for supporters travelling by train between Bratislava and Zilina after the organisation had prematurely announced the game would be in the country's capital.
Yesterday, when asked if he thought this behaviour contradicted the message being advocated by drinkaware.ie -- a drinks industry-funded awareness group -- he said: "In the past we organised a train and we put some refreshments behind the bar on it. That is something we did to thank the Irish supporters for the money they spent when they went abroad. It's something we have done in the past but not something we intend to do in Poland," he said.
Mr Delaney said his biggest aim was to get as many fans as possible into the matches in June.
"I am only worried about the number of fans who don't have tickets. Getting as many of them into the grounds and getting them behind the country is my biggest aim," he said.
Drinkaware.ie chief executive Fionnuala Sheehan said this was the latest in a series of guides about surviving events such as stag and hen nights, the Leaving Cert, festivals and holidays.