Saturday 17 November 2018

Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland launch bid for 2023 U21 European Championships

Patrick Nelson, Irish FA Chief Executive, left, and John Delaney, FAI Chief Executive during a special announcement that the Football Association of Ireland and the Irish Football Association will bid to host the UEFA Under-21 Championship in 2023
Patrick Nelson, Irish FA Chief Executive, left, and John Delaney, FAI Chief Executive during a special announcement that the Football Association of Ireland and the Irish Football Association will bid to host the UEFA Under-21 Championship in 2023
FAI CEO John Delaney. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The FAI and IFA have announced a joint bid to bring the European U21 Championships to this island in 2023.

Representatives of both associations were present in Belfast today to formally announce that they be making a submission to bring the tournament to these shores.

It is proposed that the final be held in Windsor Park.

"I'm excited that we are working together to bring this top football event to our respective countries," said IFA President David Martin, who declared it as a historic day.

He said that a similar idea had been floated 15 years ago but problems with infrastructure were the obstacle.

Improvements in facilities on both sides of the border have facilitated the prospect of making a proper tilt this time around.

Slovenia and Hungary are set to launch a bid for the 2021 tournament, clearing the way for the FAI/IFA bid to make a strong push for the 2023 renewal.

"There's a lot of work to be done to formulate this bid," said FAI President Donal Conway who referenced Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Ballymena and Limerick as places that could possibly host games.

"A successful bid would have a massive impact on the economies of both countries," said IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson.

"Potentially 100,000 bed nights and €20m in terms of tourist spend. Almost 250,000 people attended the games in Poland last year. It should be a catalyst for new training pitches and facilities in stadia.

"This bid indicates our desire to have positive relations and work together when we can for the good of football."

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