I’m sure someone clever gave him the figures, but I’d to smile when I heard FAI boss John Delaney suggest that staging what’s, by any other name, the UEFA Cup final at the new Lansdowne Road in 2011 would see “anything from €30m to €100m being generated for the Irish economy when the game arrives.”
Given that the stadium will seat 50,000 fans, taking the top figure that’s an average spend of €2,000, not including all those who’ll be tagging along for free in pre-paid corporate hospitality on the night. I’m no Jim Power when it comes to economics, but by my calculations that doesn’t quite add up. Sounds like the sort of ‘money spinning’ that tended to inflate our ‘Celtic Tiger’ notions before the bloated beast became a rotting corpse.
On the same subject, Sports Minister Martin Cullen spoke of “our proud soccer heritage” and also predicted that the event will “provide a huge boost to the tourism industry, both in terms of the revenue that the match will generate for the local economy, and the exposure to the tens of millions of people watching the match on television around the world. It is further tangible evidence of the benefits deriving from the Government’s continued investment in sport,” he asserted.
The Minister even went on to claim that, “In addition, the opportunity for young Irish people to see some of the best that European football now has to offer on their own doorstep should be inspirational and the legacy of the newly-named UEFA Europa League Final will be felt in every corner of Ireland for years to come.”
Hmmm. It’s a start, and you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but every corner? Years to come? Certain things will be felt long and hard (like billions in budget deficits) but a Europa final? I don’t think so.
At least John Delaney and his IRFU counterpart Philip Browne (who at least can kick back and relax in the knowledge that his share of the premium/long-term tickets are already sold) must be breathing a serious sigh of relief that the redevelopment of Lansdowne got off the ground in time.
With funding programmes being pulled and pruned in all directions, Waterford Fine Gael Senator Paudie Coffey wants to know where the proceeds from National Lottery ticket sales will go in light of the Government’s decision to withhold this year’s intended sports capital grant; something that could impact on the development of WIT’s new sports campus at Carriganore, where the Waterford GAA are/were looking at becoming ground sharers.
The Portlaw politician has called on Finance Minister Brian Lenihan – who might just have more pressing matters to attend to – to clarify where the cash from the likes of scratch cards and quick picks will end up instead. It’s a pertinent question, especially seeing as the worsening economy will probably result in more people being enticed into hoping “It could be you!”