Further to a number of misleading press reports, the FAI today (Jan 18) clarified its position on the forthcoming away match against Brazil in the Emirates Stadium on March 2nd.
1. The match against Brazil is an away match and is being hosted by international match sports promoter Kentaro. The FAI were invited by Kentaro to play this match against Brazil. A normal programme of home matches will take place separately to this game in Ireland during this year, including two friendlies in May at a venue in Ireland still to be specified (the venues for these games will be chosen on the basis of what is commercially in the best interest of the Association), the first football international in the Aviva Stadium against Argentina in August and further games in September and October in the Aviva Stadium dependent on the outcome of the fixtures meeting following the European Championships draw. It is quite normal for the Association to play some away matches during the course of any year.
2. The misconception that the FAI could have forced the match organiser, Kentaro to play the game against five time world champions, Brazil in Dublin is entirely without foundation since the FAI was only invited by Kentaro to play this game and was therefore in no position to dictate when or where this away fixture would be played
3. When Kentaro first approached the FAI about playing this away match against Brazil, the Association requested before accepting the invitation that Kentaro also consider Croke Park as one of the possible venues for the game along with a number of high profile stadiums that Kentaro had already identified in the UK. Offers were received by Kentaro from all of these stadia and the Emirates Stadium won the bid both in terms of cost and in terms of potential revenue generation for the match organizers, Kentaro.
4. The reports in the papers that FAI Chief Executive, John Delaney has claimed that the Aviva Stadium would not have been built if Croke Park had remained open are also without foundation and misleading. What John Delaney said was that, when the FAI first started playing matches in Croke Park, the Association was told very clearly that it would not be able to use the facility after the completion of the Aviva Stadium. Had this position been different at the time, then maybe it might have influenced the thinking in both the FAI and IRFU about the possibility of playing some matches outside of Aviva Stadium.