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Monday 18 December 2017

FAI shelve plans for joint Euro U-21 bid

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

THE FAI have shelved plans to make a joint bid for the European U-21 Championship finals with Northern Ireland, and face a lengthy wait torevisit the idea after England and Wales moved into contention to stage the 2013 renewal of the competition.

CEO John Delaney has long stated his desire to bring the finals to this island, after indicating that UEFA would look favourably upon the all island concept.

However, the FAI last night said they are now concentrating on matters upcoming in the next 12 months as opposed to looking further down the line.

The U-21 tournament takes place every two years, and the individual bids from England and Wales are in competition with Bulgaria and Israel for the 2013 event.

If UEFA opted for either of the British nations, then it would hinder the chances of the competition being brought to this part of the world in 2015, meaning the next available date would be 2017.

Delaney said in August that it was his intention to look into co-hosting once the IFA sorted out internal issues arising from the departure of their CEO Howard Wells.

Yet, in the short term, the FAI have their own problems after being forced to shed staff as part of cost-cutting measures arising from the difficulty in selling 10-year tickets for the new Aviva Stadium.

Therefore, they are channelling their energies towards events that will take place at the renovated Lansdowne Road next year.

“We are concentrating fully on the Europa League Final and the Carling Nations Cup for 2011,” said an FAI spokesman last night, “We will review after that what tournaments we might want to bid for.”

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