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Irish Football Association Plans €863m Infrastructure Modernisation
In a bid to enhance the overall standard of football in Ireland, The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has unveiled plans to invest a whopping 863m euro (£743m) towards modernizing Irish football infrastructure. As per their “Facility Investment Vision and Strategy,” they aim to secure funding from various sources over a period of 15 years.
The FAI desires an investment worth 47m euro (£40.4m) for upgrading Abbotstown National Training Centre’s standard where Republic of Ireland teams train. At grassroots level, they want to spend around 426m euros (£366m), while another £335 million goes into developing League of Ireland.- as per the strategy plan announced on Thursday.
“Football in Ireland has been under-invested for the last twenty-five years with no proper investment into facilities, which puts us way behind European counterparts,” says FAI regarding its Facility Investment Vision and Strategy statement.
To source this mammoth amount, the association aims for €517mn (£445mn) from Irish government sources along with €173 mn each via local authorities like educational institutes or health bodies and independent funds such as Fifa and Uefa contributions alike. Furthermore, it proposed creating an autonomous ‘Ireland Football Facility Fund’ that will focus entirely on transforming our nation’s sports facility standards consistently, professionally and dedicatedly.”
New National Training Centre In Development
A crucial goal is constructing new National training centers since current Abbotstown at Dublin falls far short compared to other famous European associations. They believe better facilities lead to the development of more competitive international teams who can qualify regularly for major tournaments. While the Republic of Ireland’s women team will feature in this year’s world cup, men’s last appearance was way back in 2002.
“In the current facility, there are no proper changing rooms for players or staff members, nor any high-performance medical/sports science facilities,” says FAI statement and they plan additionally to update ageing artificial surfaces.
Development at Grass Root Level
At grass-root levels, where girls’ and women’s game has experienced a tremendous surge recently with exponential growth seen over time. The lack of basic female-friendly facilities is holding back progress since we have almost 34k girls playing football currently nationwide.
The report further reveals that some clubs struggle to provide female friendly toilets as nearly 38% cannot cope up with growing demands because there aren’t enough infrastructures.”
League Of Ireland Upgrades
Finally, aiming towards upgrading League of Ireland stadia/training grounds is “clearly holding league back,” according to FAI. Sending every League ground capacity at least minimum upto 4k by end-of-fifteen-year-plan through separate investment from each club into academy infrastructure would remove significant hurdles.
The Irish association underlines how twelve European countries have already completed stadium projects between 2009-2018; yet our country still lags behind even now.
In conclusion through their Facility Investment Vision & Strategy, FAI aims towards huge investments across various sectors such as training centers updates for national teams (47m euro), grassroots level improvement (426m euros) along with overall upgrades worth £335 million for developing better standard footballing environments throughout Ireland.
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