Sport Soccer

Thursday 26 April 2018

FAI bosses draw blank in PR offensive

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

It's been a poor week for the image of the FAI. The opening of the Aviva Stadium has been overshadowed by the furore surrounding their decision to block Limerick FC's proposed friendly with Barcelona at Thomond Park.

Remarkably, they cited a clash with League of Ireland fixtures as one reason, despite admitting they would try and persuade UEFA to reschedule a Champions League game involving Bohemians if a clash with the visit of Manchester United to the renovated Lansdowne Road arises. In addition, they angered 10-year Vantage Club ticket holders by refusing to add that game to their expensive package, which has proved difficult to sell.

The Irish Independent spoke to a PR expert, who wished to remain anonymous, to assess the manner in which the events have been handled by the FAI.

"In what should have been a rare and great week for the FAI in PR terms, it turned out to be a nil-all draw at best for them," he said.

"The handling of the Vantage Club tickets mix-up and more especially the handling of the cancellation of the Limerick game left a lot to be desired from a PR perspective.

"I do feel the FAI get a particularly hard time from sections of the media but whether they were right or wrong to block the Limerick game, it wasn't communicated correctly.

"To say the fixture clashed with league games is a nonsense. This is part of an overall PR problem the FAI have where they tend to clutch defeat from the jaws of victory. Even if they reverse their decision now and let Limerick play Barca it is too late to save face.

"I do feel the more battered they become the more entrenched they get and their relationships with media have been strained for some time. With distrust on both sides it can lead to paranoia and miscommunication and can end up with the scenario that a good week can turn into a bad week."

Irish Independent

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