FAI launch Centenary with free kit for babies
Republic of Ireland Men's Senior Team captain Seamus Coleman and senior international James McClean were on hand at the team's training camp in Spain to launch the Babies In Green initiative which will kick-off a year-long programme of events and festivities to honour the birth of the Association in Molesworth Hall on Molesworth Street in Dublin 100 years ago.
“Tuesday will be a very special day for the FAI and Irish football and we really wanted to begin our Centenary celebrations with something a little bit out of the ordinary,” said the Association’s Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Hill.
"Just as our footballing forefathers laid the foundations for our game when they met in Molesworth Street one hundred years ago, we are now building a game for the future which continues to be part of the fabric of everyday Irish life but is also relevant and welcoming for a new generation of players and fans.
“Of course, the new FAI needs to reflect on and rejoice in the great achievements of the past on the field of play but must also ensure that it now provides these newborngirls and boys with every opportunity to play the game of football in a fun and safe way as they grow up and enjoy their sport with us. We recognise that the world around us is changing rapidly but football remains a constant in the lives of so many and we are aware of the duty we have to build the best possible future for these new arrivals and for everyone in Ireland who loves our game.”
The Ireland jersey initiative will be available to parents who register their newborn baby via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 30th. This kit offer will be the first of many landmark events planned by the FAI over the next 12 months, culminating in a Centenary Week next May.
More details will be unveiled over the summer when the FAI will also announce an exclusive Umbro Centenary jersey and badge along with plans for a digital history of the game in Ireland, a Hall of Fame to recognise the contribution of so many greats at all levels of Irish football and recognition for 100 Grassroots Heroes, 100 International Heroes and 100 League of Ireland and Women’s National League heroes.
As COVID-19 restrictions ease, other projects in the pipeline include Centenary games in 2022 and the staging of the Centenary AGM at a Dublin venue close to Molesworth Hall.
Newly re-elected FAI President Gerry McAnaney will chair the FAI’s Centenary Committee. He said: “Our football history features great players, great games, great administrators, great clubs and great people. We owe it to all of them now to mark the first 100 years of the FAI in a fitting manner that reflects the successes on the field at all levels of the game and the remarkable commitment of so many off it to ensure our game has survived and indeed prospered in the years since 1921.
“We have faced many hurdles in those intervening years, none more so than recently, but I have faith in the future of the game because I know the people who look after Irish football as the custodians of our beautiful game. I look forward to celebrating this Centenary with them in the coming months.”
FAI Chairperson Roy Barrett remarked: “I am truly honoured to be Chairperson of the FAI in this, our Centenary Year and I also want to acknowledge those who make Irish football great every day and night of the year, the staff who serve us so well and all those players, coaches, match officials, club officials, volunteers, parents, guardians and supporters who make football an integral part of so many Irish lives. They can do that thanks to the selfless efforts of so many over the past 100 years and we will celebrate them in our Centenary Year now and look forward to a bright future for our game.”