Monday 19 August 2019

'They'll be popping champagne corks out in Abbottstown' - FAI in line for €20m bonanza

FAI Chief Executive John Delaney could have 20 million reasons to be happy with last night's result
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney could have 20 million reasons to be happy with last night's result

Cormac Byrne

The FAI is in line for a potential €20m windfall after the Republic of Ireland secured qualification for Euro 2016 last night.

Irish fans have already began making plans for the trip to France next summer with visits to the local credit unions expected to increase in the coming weeks.

The funds coming the way of the FAI after last night's victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina will provide a welcome boost to the coffers at Abbottstown, especially considering that their latest figures show a debt mountain of €51.2m.

Jonathan Walters two goals were worth a guaranteed €6m each to the association but that figure is expected to rise dramatically depending on results on the field and increased revenues off it.

Michael O'Keeffe of PSG Communications told the News At One on RTE Radio One: "It's €6m a piece for those goals that night and that could actually be €10m a piece depending on how we do from here, €12m is what we get for qualifying so if we do nothing else but travel, it's going to be very helpful for the FAI.

"When you add in that you get €1m for every game you win out there and that doesn't even include the spin-offs that are going to come from sponsored revenue, full-houses at the warm-up matches next year and everything else in between. They'll be popping champagne corks out in Abbottstown today I can imagine.

"Everybody is in for a bit of a kick from this. Sponsored revenue is expected to increase next year as the market becomes more buoyant. People will look to soccer as one place to put their money.

"There's something like 17 different FAI sponsors , all of which will be pumping money into soccer over the next six months . It's absolutely great to see."

Revenue streams from jersey sales will also help the finances, while qualification will have knock-on benefits for the rest of the economy.

"Canterbury actually sold out their jerseys in October this year for the Rugby World Cup. There is a new Irish soccer jersey coming out in April and I've been told by the likes of Lifestyle Sports  that they expect this to be a really big seller," O'Keeffe added.

"There are going to be huge benefits there.

"Are Lingus are going to put on 160 flights a week to France, it's really good news all round and you can't put a price on happiness."

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