Thursday 21 November 2019

Independent Newspapers signs up as official partner to FAI

Independent Newspapers has a great history of reporting Irish football from the grassroots up - and now it's official.

The Football Association of Ireland and Ireland’s leading media group and website, Independent.ie, have teamed up as official partners, promising exciting initiatives for our readers.

Republic of Ireland management team members Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane were on hand to announce the new partnership ahead of their second home game in charge of the Republic of Ireland when they take on Serbia in Aviva Stadium tomorrow (Wednesday).

FAI CEO John Delaney and Independent Newspapers Group Head of News, Ian Mallon, were also present to make the announcement at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown.

It comes as a new chapter opened for the sport  - with the turning of the sod yesterday for the FAI's Academy in Abbotstown.

Phase One will include five full-sized grass pitches and one full-sized artificial turf pitch, with youngsters set to be the first to benefit from the facilities, which are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The National Training Centre will be used for elite player and referee training, including international squads and coach education.

Minister for Sport Leo Varadkar took shovel in hand alongside Mr Delaney and Mr O'Neill for the official ceremony to turn the sod.

They were ably assisted by Dublin District Schoolboys' League (DDSL) Chairman of the board of directors, Brendan Bermingham and Chairman of the National Sports Campus Development Authority Sean Benton.

Also present was constituency TD, Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton.

Minister Varadkar said the academy, as part of the national centre of excellence for sports planned for the Abbotstown campus was needed, commenting that football is "one of the truly global sports."

John Delaney of the FAI expressed his hope that the academy would become a "conveyor belt" for the best footballers of the future and said it will provide “a real boost for the next generation of Irish football talent.”

Meanwhile, speaking of the partnership with the Irish Independent, Mr Delaney commented that it was a "fantastic development for both the Association and indeed football in Ireland".

"The Irish Independent and Independent.ie provides extensive coverage to football nationwide," he said.

"There is certainly a great appetite for soccer in Ireland and the Independent will no doubt satisfy that for our fans. We are really looking forward to working with the Irish Independent going forward."

Ian Mallon said the tie-in between the FAI and Independent Newspapers was “a very exciting development”.

“This deal will give our online users an advantage over all our digital rivals, giving them interviews and football news that can only found on Independent.ie.”

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