A €9m FAI football centre of excellence planned for Cork has been earmarked as a training camp for teams involved in Euro 2020.
FAI chief executive John Delaney made the announcement yesterday as details of the ambitious project, which is set to rival the national training facility in Abbotstown, were unveiled at Cork County Hall.
Mr Delaney said construction work is at an advanced planning phase in the hope of breaking ground next year on the 30-acre site in Glanmire, eight miles outside the city. It could take two-and-a-half years to complete.
The complex is being developed by a partnership involving the FAI, Cork County Council and FORAS, the trust which operates FAI Cup winners Cork City FC, to boost the game at grassroots level.
It will also provide state-of-the-art training facilities for Cork City FC. Once complete, it will boast:
The complex will also have a purpose-built pavilion with a viewing area, classrooms, a gymnasium, dressing rooms, physiotherapy, medical and team rooms, as well as a community area. With Ireland set to host four UEFA Euro 2020 matches, the proposed facility has also been identified as a potential training camp for these teams, Mr Delaney confirmed.
Plans for facility accelerated in 2015 when the FAI made a submission to Cork County Council. That resulted in the council granting a long lease for the site at Brooklodge in Glanmire, which it owns.
Mr Delaney hailed the partnership approach which is set to realise the vision.
“This will be there for all levels of the game — from our grassroots to our professionals,” he said.
“Once complete, this will rival any sporting facility in the country, including the National Training Centre at Abbotstown.
“I hope to see similar facilities in place in Leinster and in Connaught, putting world-class football facilities on the doorsteps of everyone who plays the game.”
Pat Lyons, the chairman of Cork City FC, said the history of League of Ireland football in Cork has had many ups and downs.
“But no club has ever truly established a permanent base,” he said. “Since FORAS assumed control of the club in 2010, this has been a key aim of ours and we are delighted to see the progress that is being made.
“This project will give aspiring and existing footballers in Cork the best platform on which to showcase and develop their talent, and we look forward to working with all strands of the game on Leeside to make the most of this opportunity.”
Council chief executive, Tim Lucey, said the council was proud to support the project. “The vision to select such a strategic position will make this facility available to over half a million people, who will be within one hour’s drive of the complex,” he said.
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