The benefits of making our first major football finals in a decade are at least eight times greater than the best television rights the FAI could have negotiated — approximately €1.2m against Turkey — in the play-offs.
And the spin-offs don’t end there. Index-lined sponsorship deals with the likes of ‘3’ and Umbro, new commercial partnerships, lucrative home friendlies and better rankings for future tournaments would all flow from qualifying for Poland and Ukraine in 2012. Early estimates yesterday indicated that qualification would boost FAI coffers by between €15-€20m.
If Ireland progress through the play-offs, the draw for the finals will be made in Kiev on December 2nd. And if the Republic were to avoid England in that draw, the much-awaited friendly against Fabio Capello’s men would come sharply into focus for the spring of 2012.
It will also ensure sell-outs for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers at home to Germany and Sweden.
Ireland and Estonia were paired in yesterday’s draw by Polish legend Zbigniew Boniek, who was a player under Trapattoni at Juventus.
The manager surely approved of his student’s work.