Monday 15 July 2019

Ireland confirm two friendlies for later this year while Gibraltar venue still undecided

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy
Ireland manager Mick McCarthy

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Mick McCarthy will get two friendly games to help prepare for the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign as the FAI have arranged matches at home to Bulgaria and New Zealand.

Bulgaria come to the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday September 10, just after the home qualifier with Switzerland, while New Zealand will be in Dublin on Thursday, November 14, a warm-up for the home game with Denmark four days later.

The FAI are also awaiting confirmation on the venue for the opening game of the qualifiers, away to Gibraltar in March. After the draw was made in December, the Gibraltar FA stated their intention to play the Ireland game in the 2,000 capacity Victoria Stadium, having used that venue in Gibraltar for the Nations League games.

But fears in UEFA over the stadium's ability to host the game prompted suggestions the tie could be moved to Faro in Portugal, where Ireland played 'away' to Gibraltar in the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

"The FAI are awaiting a final decision from UEFA on confirmation of the venue for Ireland's EURO 2020 Qualifier away to Gibraltar on Saturday, March 23. The Gibraltar FA had selected the Victoria Stadium before the UEFA deadline but are currently in discussions with UEFA to assess the suitability of the stadium to host EURO 2020 Qualifiers," an FAI statement today said.

"Ireland supporters are advised to wait until UEFA officially confirms the venue for this fixture before amending any of their travel plans as the FAI expects a final decision by early next week."

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