By Tony O'Donoghue

The Football Association of Ireland secured a debt write-down of €11.7 million, delegates at their Annual General Meeting in Athlone has heard.

The Association restructured their loans during the last financial year to reduce debt to just over €50m.

Athlone man Paddy McCaul stepped down as FAI President after his four-year tenure.

Tony Fitzgerald was elected President and Donal Conway as Vice President at a Special Council meeting following the AGM.

Today's AGM was Chief Executive John Delaney's tenth at the helm of the Association, a period that has been financially challenging for the FAI.

In his review of the year, he said the highlight was the refinancing of the stadium debt.

The Board recently asked Delaney to continue as chief executive for another five years, a move that's expected to cost the association €1.8m or €360,000 a year.

Delaney stated that football remains the largest and most popular sport in the country - the new Aviva Stadium season ticket has already had sales of almost 8.500.

The FAI have also just launched a new 10-year ticket for under €5,000 to replace the old Vantage Club that had failed to reach expected sales targets.

Next year, with six home internationals, including the friendly against England, the financial outlook should be more encouraging.