FAI aims to clear stadium debt by 2020

 

The FAI hopes to have its portion of the cost of the Aviva Stadium on Lansdowne Road paid off by 2020.

At the association’s AGM in Wexford yesterday, chief executive John Delaney and delegates were unanimously positive despite the fact they now face a 10-year wait to clear the debt largely because Vantage Club ticket sales have not gone to plan.

Delaney claimed 6,300 of the 10,000 tickets have either been sold, committed to, or given to sponsors, meaning an exact figure on the sales so far is almost impossible to pinpoint.

The association’s debt is similarly ambiguous because after having net borrowings totalling €38 million from the banks at the end of 2009, a further €21 million was paid off stadium construction costs this year. The exact debt, then, is unclear because the association did not reveal how much of the latter figure was borrowed, while some 10-year tickets have been sold in the meantime.

It means that over €80 million has been paid off the stadium bill and around €2.5 million is all that remains, but it has been done with borrowed money and is therefore a long way from what was planned by the association, which hoped ticket sales would clear the debt almost immediately.

The association did report an operating profit of €5.2 million last year, though after grants are deducted that figure is likely to drop to around €3.6 million.

Much of that surplus was down to the box-office draws against Italy and France in Croke Park in 2009 but there are no such matches on the horizon this year.

Paddy McCaul, meanwhile, was formally elected David Blood’s successor as association president David Blood, while Tony Fitzgerald took up the role as vice-president.