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Debt worries in Ireland


A big story in the financial pages in the past week has been the state of the Irish economy and whether it can continue to fund its debts given the state of some of the country's banks in the aftermath of the collapse of the 'Celtic Tiger' boom.  These concerns extend to the Football Association of Ireland  (FAI) which has debts of €50m, although it made a profit of €5m last year and insists it is on track to pay them all off by 2020.

However, the answers given by the FAI chief executive John Delaney in this report to probing questions from journalists seem somewhat evasive.   It is apparent that not all the premium 'Vantage' seats which are a key element in the funding of the re-development of Lansdowne Road. have been purchased.  What is not clear is how many have been sold and how much discounting or provision of seats as part of commercial deals has taken place to secure those sales that have occurred.

The FAI points to a deal to get a mobile telecommunications company to pay for the floodlights in return for using them as masts, a deal being rolled out across Ireland, and a new sponsorship deal in the offing, but concerns persist.