THE Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2012 draw may not have a Hollywood hue to it, nor is it box office, but it has the most important element of all about it.
One has to smile at pundits practically pleading for the ‘glamour’ of an England or France in the qualifiers. There is no glamour in coming up short, as last November in Paris painfully underlined. The glamour – as the best social diarists always say – is being inside the velvet robe, at the finals themselves. It’s fairy-chasing to seek countries whose TV networks have loads of moola to throw around for rights (on the basis such a deal will right the skewed balance sheet of the FAI). If that money is on the table for TV rights, that means a football heavyweight is coming to town. Until such time as the Republic qualify again for a major tournament, we are going to be third ranked when it comes to grouping for major tournaments.
There isn’t many Group B countries you’d plan your holidays around, but there’s every possibility there’ll be a 2012 exodus to Eastern Europe on the back of it. The hardest part could be the schedule – once the various federations can sort out if there’s any of the countries they’d like to host that meeting.! Slovakian capital Bratislava looks favourite for that.
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