FAI deny ticketing 'fiasco'

FAI deny ticketing 'fiasco'

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) today described as "unfounded" a newspaper report claiming a "fiasco" in the sale of premium-level tickets for the new Aviva Stadium.

Today's Irish Independent said the FAI was facing a financial crisis after sales of 10-yeaer 'Vantage' seats had fallen short of targets.

Some 10,400 of the seats were to be sold at a cost of between €12,000 and €32,000 with the revenue to offset loans taken out by the FAI to fund the redevelopment of the former Lansdowne Road.

However, according to the Irish Independent, just 4,077 of the seats had been sold by the end of last month, when a third-party company assigned to sell the premium seat packages on behalf of the FAI completed its association with the project.

The report additionally claimed that the figure of 4,077 seats also includes many existing 10-year ticket holders as well as cancelled orders, indicating that the actual number of Vantage seats sold may be less.

Banks of empty premium-level seats have been noted on by commentators during Ireland's first games at the €411m stadium, including during Tuesday night's 3-1 victory against Andorra.

In a statement issued this morning however the FAI rejected the claims made in the report, insisting that sales of Vantage seats, "including sponsor commitments", had 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 FAI said.

It added that "less than 100 seats in total" had been cancelled and that existing 10-year ticket holders who purchased in 2004 and 2006 "have paid for their 10-year tickets in full".

"The FAI has met all of its contributions to the €411m Aviva stadium which it jointly owns with the IRFU," the Association said, insisting that it was on course to achieve its target of being debt-free by 2020.

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