Euro Football

Three Ireland pulls renewal of multi-million euro FAI sponsorship deal

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Three Ireland has announced it will not renew its sponsorship of the FAI – less than 24 hours before the association publishes its annual accounts.

The mobile giant, which invested tens of millions throughout a decade-long sponsorship, claimed that not renewing will let it focus more on music sponsorship.

A statement from Three Mobile said: “Three has made the decision not to renew its sponsorship of Irish football when the current contract comes to an end at the end of July 2020.”

And commenting on the announcement, Three’s Chief Commercial Officer, Elaine Carey added: “Having recently reviewed our full sponsorship portfolio, we have decided to consolidate our sponsorship investment in the area of music.

“At Three, we are entirely focused on supporting the Irish Men’s team through what we hope will be an exciting and successful qualification for the UEFA European Football Championship and the Irish Women’s team in their qualification journey for the UEFA Women’s European Championship.

“We also wish the Irish teams at every level the very best in the future.”

The FAI’s President Donal Conway added: ““The Board and the commercial team here at the FAI would like to thank Three Chief Executive Robert Finnegan and his colleagues for their support of Irish football.

“In their ten years as proud backers of Irish football they have been Ireland’s number one supporter and we will always be grateful to them for their financial and personal support.

“We look forward to a successful eight months ahead with Three on board as we countdown to the EURO Play-Offs in March and the UEFA EURO 2020 games in Dublin next summer.”

The move is the latest in a string of bad PR for the FAI, who earlier this week told staff that due to the financial crisis gripping the association  – debts of over €50m are estimated – there will be cost-cutting measures implemented in the near future.

Yesterday, they named Paul Cooke as ‘executive lead’, following John Foley’s last minute decision not to take up the position on Sunday night.

But this didn’t appease government ministers, as a Department of Sport statement read last night: “As has been stated repeatedly, and most recently yesterday, Ministers Ross and Griffin believe the most urgent priorities for the FAI should be the appointment of the four independent directors, the independent Chairperson, and the filling of the CEO vacancy, whether on an interim or full time basis.

“Various stakeholders will continue to be concerned until such time as the Board and the Executive are led by completely independent people without any prior or present involvement with the FAI.

“We look forward to an early appointment of an independent CEO following a thorough process. Government funding cannot be restored until such independent directors and an independent CEO are in place”.

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