FAI waives €3,000 fine for girl (11) who ran onto Aviva pitch to meet Ronaldo

Addison Whelan ‘delighted’ to get hug and jersey from Portugal player after final whistle

The FAI has said it will waive a €3,000 fine for an 11-year-old girl who ran onto the pitch at the Aviva Stadium to meet footballer Cristiano Ronaldo on Thursday night.

Addison Whelan from East Wall in north inner city Dublin is a Shelbourne under-13 player and a "huge fan" of the Portuguese forward.

As the last whistle sounded at the end of Republic of Ireland's nil-all draw with Portugal, Addison "jumped over the barrier and just started sprinting".

She said a security member at the Aviva told her she would have to pay "a three grand fine" for running out onto the pitch, but a statement from the Football Association of Ireland confirmed she would not face any fine for approaching the football star.

"We want to assure Addison that of course she will not face any fine for running onto the pitch and asking for Ronaldo's jersey," FAI media and football relations director Cathal Dervan said.

Despite absolving Addison, the FAI reminded other fans that “at all games fines are liable to be levied by Uefa in certain instances for entering the field of play, particularly when the game is ongoing and we urge all fans to respect this very sensible rule”.

Addison told The Irish Times she was “delighted” to get a hug and a jersey from the football player.

“We were sitting in the second row and when the match ended I just ran straight for Ronaldo. All the stewards came after me but none of them caught me, I was too fast,” she said. “That’s my coach Alan with all his sprints he has me do.”

A boy who was “about 16 ” had tried to run out before her, she said, but “didn’t make it because he wasn’t fast enough.

“I was literally delighted. I couldn’t believe it because I didn’t think I’d make it,” she said.

The Manchester United star gave Addison a hug and handed her his match jersey. "It was just a second but I gave him a hug and told him I was a huge fan and he said he appreciated that and he gave me his jersey," she said.

She now plans to frame the jersey, but has no intention of washing it first.

Addison was asked to appear on The Late Late Show on RTÉ on Friday night and was out getting chipper food with her family as a treat beforehand.

Alongside playing football, Addison also trains at Corinthians Boxing club, where Olympic gold-medallist Kellie Harrington first got her start in the sport.

Speaking at Corinthians in August about the Dublin boxer’s win, Addison said she “really looked up to Kellie” and “couldn’t decide” whether she would become either a star footballer or boxer in her future.