IRFU confirm they have 'no interest' in buying the FAI's Aviva Stadium shares

Thu, Dec 19 2019
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None Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) have confirmed they have no interest in purchasing the FAI’s share in the Aviva Stadium.

There have been calls in recent weeks for the football association to sell its interest in the historic stadium in order to ease the debt burden exposed by the latest accounts.

Accounts for 2018 and recently-revised 2017 accounts exposed a €55 million hole in the FAI’s balance sheet, much of which will be payable in the coming years.

The Lansdowne Road venue is operated jointly by the FAI and IRFU through a stadium management company on a 60-year lease, at the end of which it will revert solely to IRFU ownership.

Former FAI CEO John Delaney had boasted the FAI would be ‘debt-free’ by 2020, however since his departure it has been confirmed liabilities of €29 million remain on the stadium alone.

"To address recent speculation, the IRFU confirms that it does not have an interest in acquiring the FAI’s share in the Aviva Stadium,” read a brief statement from the IRFU.

“The IRFU’s investment program is centered firmly on the development of rugby at all levels and all available funds are fully committed to that program.”

Minster for Sport Shane Ross revealed at an Oirechtas meeting on Wednesday – which the FAI refused an invite to – that the association had approached him in search of an €18 million bail-out.

Should no other buyer emerge for the FAI’s share of the stadium, the government could view investing in the FAI’s share as a way to provide financial support short of a hand-out.

The Aviva Stadium will host three group games and a round of 16 game at Euro 2020 next year and all parties will be keen to have clarity by then.

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