FAI to decide on British anthem

THE Queen may be coming to Ireland this month but it’s not yet clear if ‘God Save The Queen’ will be coming to the Aviva Stadium.

The British national anthem has never been played in the south ahead of an international football match between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and, according to FAI boss John Delaney, security considerations will ultimately dictate whether or not it will be played before the Carling Nations Cup game between the two sides at the new stadium on May 24.

History was already made in the competition when the anthem was played before Northern Ireland took on Scotland in the same venue in February, marking the first time that ‘God Save The Queen’ had been officially aired at a Northern Ireland soccer match in the Republic.

Among those in attendance that night, as the visiting Scottish fans roundly jeered the anthem, was a bemused Giovanni Trapattoni.

“I’d some job explaining to Trapattoni how the Northern Ireland fans were singing the English national anthem and the Scots were booing it, but we got through it,” said John Delaney yesterday.

Asked if he would welcome another bit of history being made on May 24, the FAI boss replied: “Personally, I’d have no difficulty with it. It was played in Croke Park for the rugby so I wouldn’t have any difficulty with it at all, but I’d leave it to someone else to decide.

“We’ll leave that to (FAI Head of Security) Joe McGlue and the security guys to discuss it with the IFA, and do what they feel would be appropriate.”

Meanwhile the FAI have cut ticket prices for internationals and introduced a one-year deal after consultations with clubs.

However the move was only possible due to UEFA’s centralised television rights agreement which guarantees €10m a year to the governing body.

FAI CEO John Delaney announced plans, which include a children’s ticket for the first time, guaranteeing seven matches for U16s for just €55, at Clare County Council in Ennis where the association’s AGM will take place in July.

An adult season ticket, from August 2011-’12 will provide seven matches for €189 in Category B and €270 in Category A, a 13% discount on single-match ticket prices announced earlier this year and up to 30% compared to 2010 admission prices.

“The UEFA agreement to centralise television rights from 2014 has given us the ability to reduce ticket prices in the general admission and vantage areas while remaining on target to repay our commitments to Aviva Stadium in full by 2020,” said Delaney.

“The offer for vantage seats will be open to existing holders to reward them for their support of Irish football and will enable the purchase additional seats on an annual basis from €300 per annum in Vantage 4. This offer will include access to all home international games, the FAI Cup final and first option on tickets for concerts taking place in the stadium.”

The FAI also announced it will make up to €100,000 available to clubs in Clare to mark the county’s hosting of the FAI AGM when it is held for the first time in the West County Hotel.


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