GAA Going Back On Their Word?
It looks like the GAA are going back on signals they have given both the SFA and the FAI about allowing Croke Park to be considered a venue for EURO2008. GAA president Sean McCague is now saying that including his ground in joint bid as "flawed". The GAA president made his a statement after speculation that the GAA would turn tradition on its head and allow soccer and rugby internationals to be played at Croke Park within two years. McCague said the GAA could give "no commitment" that the ground could be used for EURO2008. This is strange as the GAA agreed in May to allow UEFA to include Croke Park in the list of ground they would visit in September.
McCague said: "Suggestions from unattributed sources in certain areas of the media that Croke Park will be made available in the next few years are unfounded and mischievous. The FAI have stated that they consider Croke Park unsuitable for soccer games because of scale and associated atmosphere. Also, the bid for the 2008 European Championships was made without any consultation with the GAA. If the bid was successful on the tenuous basis that Croke Park would be available, there could be serious disappointment and embarrassment for the FAI and the supporters of the bid at a later date". Scotland are offering 6 grounds and Ireland have agreed to offer the remaining 2 grounds that would fulfil UEFA’s criteria. The FAI are hanging onto the hope that the proposed Stadium Ireland will make the bid a success. UEFA officials are visiting all the bidders and will visit Scotland and Ireland last in their tour. When in Dublin (in September) they plan to visit Lansdowne Road, Croke Park and the site for the proposed Stadium Ireland. The Irish Government are planing to announce further details about the Stadium Ireland project just as the delegation start their visits.
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Al McIntosh (Al@scottishfitba.net)
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