FAI chief executive John Delaney says he’s confident that the FAI can manage the debt arising out its estimated €74 million commitment to the building of the new Aviva Stadium.
Speaking on TV3, he said: “There’s going to be debt, no more than the IRFU are going to have debt, no more than Croke Park had debt.
“Anyone who thinks you can build a stadium without incurring debt – the thing is to be able to manage the debt. And we’ll be in a good position to manage that debt, I have no doubt about that.
“We’ve got tickets sales which are selling premium seats and boxes over 10 years, and we’re building up a strong annualised income out of that. So our annualised income is growing, based on those commitments and the monies we have received to date, and that will easily service the debt that we will incur on the stadium. And I’m pleased about that.”
Delaney insisted that sales of the FAI’s 10,000 premium tickets for the stadium are picking up, despite the economic downturn.
“Of course it’s a difficult economic time but we’ve seen one or two pretty significant purchases over the last couple of months, which is great,’’ he said. “We’re beginning to see corporate Ireland beginning to turn and we’re aware of the marketing and commercial budgets set aside by many of the major companies next year – and incorporated in those will be premium seats for the new stadium.”
Invited to comment on the perception of the FAI as “cash-strapped”, the chief executive laughed and said: “Well, tell me any business in this country that has loads of cash. I don’t know of any.
“Everybody is cutting back, everybody is looking at their expenditure. That’s the world we live in. If the banks don’t have money, who has?”
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