FAI leave Thomond Park ‘in limbo’ on soccer cup

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

THOMOND Park remain ‘in limbo’ on the fate of the proposed pre-season soccer tournament in the stadium for this August.

THOMOND Park remain ‘in limbo’ on the fate of the proposed pre-season soccer tournament in the stadium for this August.

Management in the stadium have received no response from the Football Association of Ireland in recent weeks with regard to sanction for the tournament, which was to feature Champions League winners Chelsea, Celtic and two other leading European teams.

The FAI have stated that they intend to host their own tournament in Dublin’s Aviva stadium, yet promoter Damien O’Brien, who runs the company Iconic Worldwide Events who have put the Thomond Park tournament together, is seeking sanction for the tournament to be based in Limerick.

American network ESPN are believed to have an agreement in principle with Ennis businessman O’Brien to broadcast the mooted pre-season friendly tournament, and it is understood that ESPN have made enquiries with a number of local hotels to book up to 26 rooms for the weekend of August 4-5.

Thomond Park boss John Cantwell said this week that stadium management were still seeking sanction from the FAI, but were leaving negotiations in the promoter’s hands.

“There is nothing new at the minute, we have pushed it as far as we could,” said Mr Cantwell. “We have let the promoter at it, in terms of him pushing this through. We are waiting on an update from him and he has been doing his best. Most parties want it to happen, but it is still in that limbo state at the moment,” he added.

“We have heard nothing, no further communications from the FAI on the matter, which is obviously disappointing,” admitted the Thomond Park boss.

Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Jim Long, recently wrote to FAI chief executive John Delaney to ask him to remove his ‘personal impediment’ to the mooted soccer tournament, declaring himself “very disappointed and annoyed” at the FAI’s apparent refusal to sanction the Thomond Park event.