FAI “absolutely committed” to hosting re-arranged Euro 2020 games

Uefa are preparing scenarios for stadiums in the 12 host cities being at full capacity, 50 per cent, 20-30 per cent or behind closed doors.
FAI “absolutely committed” to hosting re-arranged Euro 2020 games

Newly appointed FAI Chief Executive Jonathan Hill

Chief executive Jonathan Hill says the FAI are still “absolutely committed” to hosting their four matches as part of a re-arranged Euro 2020 this summer.

In a key note speech as part of this year’s virtual Sport For Business summit, Hill confirmed that Uefa have set a deadline of March 5 to confirm their plans for the European Championships.

The European governing body are preparing scenarios for stadiums in the 12 host cities being at full capacity, 50 per cent, 20-30 per cent or behind closed doors.

The tournament will go ahead between June 11-July 11 but plans cannot be finalised with the coronavirus pandemic still wreaking havoc.

“Yes, 2021 is an incredibly important year to us, we are still absolutely committed to the delivery of four matches across Euro 2020 which is taking place this summer, and I definitely want the FAI and Irish football, Irish people overall to put our best foot forward in relation to that and it's a great kickstart to the centenary year,” Hill said.

“There's a date, March 5th is what UEFA are talking to all of the cities about and to be clear, they are committed to each of those 12 cities and to that concept, but it would be foolish to say that there aren't challenges to a concept that was created a number of years ago, pre-pandemic.

“We here in Ireland will always follow government advice and the directives from NPHET. We will need to work hard so we can deliver, fingers crossed, the maximum number of attendees into the stadium itself.

“UEFA have some big decisions to make but clearly for UEFA, number one they want to get the tournament away, which they will do, even if it has to happen behind closed doors but I don't think that will be the case, from a commercial viewpoint that's extremely important in relation to the broadcast side of things.

While Hill did not address the issues around Stephen Kenny’s coaching staff following the departure of assistant coach Damien Duff and goalkeeper coach Alan Kelly, the Yorkshireman did stress the importance of the upcoming World Cup campaign, as well as the image of the FAI.

“We are looking very closely at our brand architecture, it's not perfect at the moment and we will review that in its totality. "The centenary year is hugely a hugely exciting moment for us, and time for us to be able to both reflect and drive forward to a new era,” he added.

“We need to be financially stable. The commercial agenda is incredibly important for me. Everything I’ve said is part of that journey and persuading brands to become part of it.

“We are looking for a national team sponsor. Frankly, there is no better time to be aligning with our national teams, certainly the senior men’s team in a World Cup qualification year, which is arguably the pinnacle of the football world.

“We are very much looking forward to that campaign and I genuinely believe that a brand aligning themselves with the campaign could tap into everything, when the excitement builds around the qualification process and, fingers crossed, qualification to the event in 2022.”

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