‘Playing for Ireland not about money’

Shay Given insists the Ireland players are not at loggerheads with the FAI over the issue of bonus payments for qualification for the Euro finals.

It has been claimed the squad are unhappy with the amount on offer — which unconfirmed reports put at around €350,000 — while, in an interview at the weekend, Portsmouth’s Liam Lawrence predicted the players would be prepared to make an issue of it.

However, Given yesterday sought to play down the matter.

“As far as I’m aware there are no arguments or rows,” he said. “You guys might want to spin it differently. If we didn’t get a penny or got hundreds of millions of pounds, it’s not going to make a difference. We are all going to be there in Poland no matter what happens. Everything else is nonsense. Everybody should try not have anything too negative around the whole set-up because the feel-good factor is coming back into Irish football.”

Confirming that he donates “a lot” of his own earnings, at both international and club level, to charity, Given added: “Playing for Ireland has never been about money for me and it never will be about money. I don’t think it ever should be for any player.”

Given conceded that there was an offer from the FAI on the table but said that, regardless of the outcome of any further negotiations, the players will be going to the Euros.

“Of course we’ll be there. We’d pay to go there, near enough. What do you suggest we do, go on strike or something? It’s stupidity. We don’t play for Ireland for money. As players, we’re just extremely excited about the summer time.”

Given said he was unaware if there was a meeting betweenplayers and the FAI planned for next week ahead of the Aviva friendly against the Czech Republic.

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