The Football Association of Ireland has refuted claims made in the Irish Independent that they are facing a financial crisis because of weak sales of premium tickets at the Aviva Stadium.
The Irish Independent has reported that figures it has seen indicate that just 4,077 of the seats had been sold by the International Stadia Group, the third party tasked with selling the seats, before its relationship with the FAI ended last month.
That contradicts the recent statement of FAI Chief Executive John Delaney, who claimed 6,300 of the seats had been sold at the Association’s AGM.
The Independent also claims that 1,000 of those 4,077 seats have been allocated to 10-year ticket holders, among which are many financial institutions who have not paid any money since the ‘Vantage Club’ project began.
In a statement, The FAI denied that sales of Vantage seats were lower than announced at the AGM and claimed that the figure of 6,300 is correct.
The statement added that premium level occupancy had been 6,900 at the Republic of Ireland v Andorra clash and that the Irish Independent's claims about a ticket fiasco were 'unfounded'.
The FAI said that it has a detailed business plan which will give it 'debt free status from 2020'.
It concluded: 'These business plans have been agreed in close consultation with our banking partners who are comfortable with our seat sales and revenues'.
FULL TEXT OF FAI STATEMENT:
The Football Association of Ireland today (September 9) reconfirmed, following its AGM last month, that sales of Vantage seats, including sponsor commitments have surpassed 6,300. At the recent match against Andorra the number of Vantage seats occupied on premium level was 6,900 and the overall attendance at the match against Andorra, the bottom seeds in the group, was third highest at all UEFA qualification matches taking place that day in Europe. Claims made in this morning’s Irish Independent about a ticket fiasco are unfounded
The Irish Independent reported that Mr. David Blood, had stated that an offer was made by a third party to the FAI of €75m to bear all risk from the Vantage Sales Process. The Board of Management of the FAI this morning confirms categorically that the Board never rejected any such offer and David Blood acknowledged this to be the case.
This morning’s Irish Independent also claimed that a number of Vantage seats have been cancelled. The Football Association of Ireland can confirm that these account for less than 100 seats in total. The Association has less than 4,000 seats available to sell on premium level and that the 6,300 figure reported at the AGM took account of this small number of cancellations.
The FAI also wishes to clarify that existing ten year ticket holders who purchased in 2004 and 2006 have paid for their ten year tickets in full and it is incorrect to claim that they have not paid for their tickets in the stadium.
The FAI has met all of its contributions to the €411m Aviva stadium which it jointly owns with the IRFU. In close consultation with its banking partners, the FAI has put in place detailed business plans that will see it debt free by 2020, while continuing to fund the development and growth of the sport at grassroots.
The Association’s business plans, backed by record levels of turnover and a commercial portfolio which as (sic) trebled in the past five years will give the FAI a debt free status from 2020. These business plans have been agreed in close consultation with our banking partners who are comfortable with our seat sales and revenues.