Importance of €11m Russia World Cup bonus made clear at FAI AGM
The importance of Ireland qualifying for the World Cup was made clear at today's FAI AGM in Kilkenny.
Martin O'Neill's side are joint top of Group D with four games to go and automatic qualification for next year's tournament would be extremely beneficial to the FAI financially.
FAI chiefs say they are on target to clear their €34m Aviva Stadium debt by 2020 but they will decide at the start of next year whether to press on with that strategy or spread repayments out over a longer period to facilitate spending in other areas.
Qualification for Russia could be worth at least €11m to the association with FIFA confirming the final prize fund six months before the finals.
The FAI say they are not budgeting for qualification, but Honorary Treasurer Eddie Murray said: "Should this (qualification) happen by the end of 2017, the financial impact is expected to be significant and will go a long way towards the deciding the future financial strategies of the association."
Finance Director Eamon Breen said it would 'place the Association in an improved position.'
The FAI Board was extended in size from 10 to 11 at today's event with the head of the Women's Committee Niamh O'Donoghue elevated to the top table.
CEO John Delaney also announced that a new national U13 league will kick off in March 2019.
The U15 league starts later this year although the inclusion of St Kevin's Boys has caused issues given that other schoolboy sides had paired with League of Ireland teams after being told that was the step they would have to take.
"We will start a national u13 league in March 2019 and we need the collective to be strong and unified," said Delaney
To make the next step, all the stakeholders need to work in tandem. We should be proud of where our game sits right now. We have much more to do and we can and we will. We will continue to change and improve."