Brain-Dead FAI Scupper Barcelona Game in Thomond Park

Irish soccer authorities continue their glorious tradition of stupidity

THE Airtricity League has refused to sanction a friendly between Limerick FC and FC Barcelona at Thomond Park.

Limerick FC confirmed today that an agreement has been reached with Barca to play at Thomond Park on July 31 subject to official sanctioning by the Football Association of Ireland.

According to the First Division side, an agreement is in place that the Barcelona team to play Limerick will include stars such as Messi, Ibrahimovic, Xavi, Bojan and all new signings.

However, in line with standard FAI traditions of utter stupidity, the Airtricity League Director, Fran Gavin, has refused to sanction the friendly, because there are two other FAI fixtures the same night.  Limerick FC Chairman Pat O’Sullivan said this decision would cost the region millions.

He said: “This is a massive setback for Limerick FC, Limerick City and the Mid-West region. We, along with Thomond Park and local tourism bodies, have worked tirelessly to bring a team of the stature of FC Barcelona to the sports-mad Mid-West region.

“The potential benefit to the local economy of up to €10 million and to the pride of soccer in the region is enormous. This makes it imperative that the Airtricity League Director reverse his decision, sanction this match and allow fans all over the region to see the likes of Lionel Messi grace Thomond Park.”


FAI statement in response to this evening’s statement from Limerick FC

1)            As the FAI has already told Limerick FC, their request for authorisation to confirm to FC Barcelona that they would be able to play in Ireland on July 31, was refused because of third party commercial agreements which prevent the Association from doing so.

2)            In addition, the FAI has also told Limerick FC that it is in active and ongoing negotiations with FC Barcelona in relation to a visit of Aviva Stadium.

3)            Thirdly, the Association told Limerick FC that it was obliged to retain ownership of the July 31 date because of Airtricity League fixtures.

Although the timing of Limerick FC’s proposal means this request cannot be granted, the FAI has already given permission to Limerick FC for a match it applied for involving Sunderland in Thomond Park on July 13.



Bock adds:

Cretins.  They can’t even put together a press statement in coherent English.  Don’t forget, these are the same dimwits who engineered the Saipan debacle.  What would you expect from such a bunch of half-wits?




Limerick FC have re-affirmed their commitment to playing FC Barcelona in Thomond Park on July 31st, and, along with Barcelona, are calling on the FAI to rescind their controversial decision not to sanction the friendly.

In a statement issued today, Limerick pointed out that in the long and glorious history of FC Barcelona that this is the first time that the club have been declined permission to play a friendly in any country – except Ireland, courtesy of the actions of Football Association of Ireland.

The FAI refused to sanction the friendly and claim they are in talks with the Spanish club for a friendly in the Aviva Stadium.

But Limerick have hit back, and say that Barca are not in negotiations with the FAI over a friendly game in Ireland this year.

Are the FAI lying?


“Limerick FC would like to clarify certain matters in relation to the statement released by the FAI regarding their reasons for not sanctioning the proposed friendly between Limerick FC and FC Barcelona on July 31st in Thomond Park.

In the long and glorious history of FC Barcelona, the club has never been declined permission to play a friendly in any country it has visited. It is a shame that the FAI will now have the indignity of being the first national association to make this happen. The failure of the FAI to sanction the friendly game with Limerick FC on 31st July could thus impact negatively on future plans for FC Barcelona to visit Ireland.

FC Barcelona is not in negotiations with the FAI over a friendly game in Ireland for this summer or for summer 2011. FC Barcelona did meet with a delegation from the FAI at Camp Nou last month in order to analyse the possibility of visiting Ireland during summer 2011. However, no formal paperwork outlining plans for the proposed friendly have been received by FC Barcelona from the FAI, no proposed dates for the friendly have been discussed and no financial terms have been proposed by the FAI. The only negotiations that FC Barcelona have undertaken in Ireland during this year are with Limerick FC and a heads of agreement has been reached by both parties for 31st July in Thomond Park.

In addition the closeness of just 5 days between our club’s proposed game in Thomond Park to the visit of Manchester United to the Aviva Stadium, is something that should be embraced by the FAI. It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for Irish fans to see two of the world’s biggest clubs grace two of Ireland’s greatest stadiums in quick succession.

Finally, Limerick FC re-affirm their commitment to playing in Thomond Park on 31st July and FC Barcelona is awaiting final approval from the FAI to continue with this potential game. Both clubs are calling on the FAI to sanction the game for the good of Irish football, Limerick FC, Limerick City and entire Mid-West region.”


“The game is going ahead. I would love it to go ahead, but it will not go ahead.”
The above were the words of FAI CEO John Delaney in relation to the proposed friendly between Limerick FC and FC Barcelona at Thomond Park this summer.
Delaney was taking part in a discussion with Fine Gael Limerick East TD, Kieran O’Donnell and Dr Michael Somers, former CEO of the National Treasury Management Agency, on the Marian Finucane show on RTE at the weekend.
Delaney, accusing Limerick FC of being naive, said that they are unable to grant the game because they are contractually bound to other people.
Finucane asked who the arrangement is with (probably Kentaro).
Delaney : One of our third parties who we work with in terms of arranging friendlies. We would have a relationship in terms of the organisation of friendlies coming into Ireland. There are certain games we can grant and certain games we cannot grant in terms of attendance figures. The owner of Limerick Football Club accepted that and said that would be the end of the matter. Unfortunately then they start issuing statements on Thursday night. They’ve tried to bring it into the public arena and put pressure on us.
We were as well negotiating with Barcelona to come to Dublin next year. Padraig Smith and Noel Mooney went out there to meet them three or four weeks ago. they looked for a proposal that was going to be sent to them in the autumn. We’ve also got correspondence from Barcelona last week saying they’ve not agreed to the game in Limerick yet because it’s up to their manager and I know how that would work as when we were getting Manchester United to come, it always requires the manager to sign off. The commercial side will have one view on it, but the manager from a football perspective will determine it.
Delaney then goes on to cast doubt on whether Limerick FC have done a deal with FC Barcelona.
“I don’t believe they’ve done a deal. We got an email from Barcelona in the late end of this week saying they haven’t agreed to it.”
Kieran O’Donnell interjects:  My understanding is they have?
Delaney responds:  I can only operate in the facts that I have. The correspondence that was shown to me, I think it was on Thursday, that we got from Barcelona, (stated) that they had not agreed to it, that they had not signed off on it. That’s the first thing.
Marian Finucane:  To get back to the point, why?
Delaney: We have signed up to an agreement with an agency that brings games into Ireland on our behalf and that restricts our ability to grant friendlies of a certain capacity. We can’t let it happen. We run the League of Ireland, we put a lot of money into the running of League of Ireland. The league costs us €5m.
Kieran O’Donnell:  Barca have the heads of agreement ready to roll, all they’re waiting for is the nod.
Delaney: They’re not the facts. I said to you on Thursday, there’s an email sent. They have not. That statement is libellous.
It sounds like anti-competitive behaviour. If the club has the entrepreneurship to bring in Barcelona, then why not?
Delaney: We’re legally restricted on it. They’ve got to ask for our permission. Every club understands that. We wrote to the clubs a year ago to say if you’re bringing in games, ask us first. We’ve had difficulty in the past, with games coming in which have upset our own league calendar.  Another fear I’d have for this game, by the way, is to get Barcelona costs €1m. To host the game, including the security, rent to Thomond Park,  flying the clubs in, could be €2m. So, for the club to make money on it, I can’t see how it would work.
Meantime,  Dr Michael Somers is baffled and equates it to trying to argue with a civil service department.
Marian Finucane asks: Is it about money, John?
Delaney responds:  It ultimately comes down to that Marian, but also, if you put a position and it’s accepted by the club and they say, that’s fine, and we’ll see you on Wednesday and you behave in the manner they’ve done, bringing the game into disrepute a bit, the way they’ve behaved the last couple of days, around the time of the opening of the stadium, issuing legal letters on Friday. It was done in poor taste. Naive. I deal with clubs all the time, national associations and agents, I know the way it works. I think the guys in Limerick have been very naive in how they’ve dealt with this, and who they’re dealing with and I can only deal with the that facts I have.
Kieran O’Donnell:  This is something the kids will dream of, the kids of Limerick, to see Messi.
JD: But we’ll see Messi on the 11th of August (at the Aviva Stadium where Ireland host Argentina).
Later in the show, Marian Finucane says that Limerick owner Pat O’Sullivan  has called in to assert that they do have agreement with Barcelona, pending the all-clear from the FAI.
Delaney adds: I wish Pat (O’Sullivan) had stuck to his promise to Noel Mooney on Thursday and come up to the meeting this Wednesday. That was on the agenda along with other items for the development of Limerick Football Club. And bringing things into the public arena and issuing statements back and forth doesn’t service Irish football or Irish sport.
Panel: But it might get them (Limerick FC) their gig in Limerick.
Delaney: Well, it won’t. It goes against them and that’s the problem.
Panel: Are you willing to sit down with Limerick?
Delaney: I’ll sit down with anybody. My job is to develop Irish football and I’ll sit down with anybody.
Panel: Will you sit down with Pat O’Sullivan and Limerick FC to discuss this issue?
Delaney: I can’t when there is a legal letter in the air. If they withdraw that, then they have some chance. I will sit with anybody to develop Irish football — that’s my role.
The above is an edited version of the Finucane show.

Elsewhere: Purplehead is very cross.

28 thoughts on “Brain-Dead FAI Scupper Barcelona Game in Thomond Park

  1. A fucking disgrace, Roy Keane was right. Is the FAI Fianna Fail in disguise?
    Hey 1st time I had the 1st comment. I can sleep tonight now :)

  2. Limerick FC are being penalised for being ambitious. The club run a tight ship. They don’t ask anyone for anything. They raise their own money and live well within their means. They go out and pull off a major coup in getting one of the biggest teams in the world to come here and they are frustrated by their own league. The club signed Willie Boland recently, a great move. Limerick are showing the type of ambition and forward planning that deserves to be applauded. They also need your support on this matter, as this is a disgrace.

  3. Permission refused because the FAi have a Barcleona game in negotiations for the Aviva with some other Irish team according to Newstalk.Also there was commercial partners involved who were not sanctioned by the FAI.Why not let Barca play here twice then? but you couldnt let the culchie soccerball supporters have something like this,this is purely for the west Brit scumbags.

  4. I think you’re right there Pauleire.
    Limerick FC have already reached an agreement with Barcelona. I remember talk of this last year. I assume they (along with the people who run Thomond Park) went through a lot of time and effort to organise it. All the donkey work done and now the Fools Association of Ireland say no.
    Meanwhile the FAI negotiations with Barcelona are ongoing.
    Thats a pile of shite it I may say so myself.
    Surely Barcelona wouldn’t mind two warm up games. Even if they were to play their second string there would be plenty of talented young players on show to entertain.
    Sure the only place where people play/watch football in this country is West Britland.
    As for me, if my friend comes through for me with a ticket I will get to see Barcas final game of th season on Sunday.
    Unless the FAI find out and forbid me from going as I’m from Limerick and not Dublin

  5. The you know what has hit the fan now as story is on the back page of every paper in the country – after it was broke here of course – the League have confirmed a friendly with Man United which will clash with a game a couple of miles away according to one of today’s papers, so there goes the excuse about a fixtures clash in FAI statement above. Welcome to the land of GUBU.

  6. Just read the Irish papers about this.
    Bock can I call the FAI wankers?
    Feel free to edit me if not.
    I could be in Limerick then…………………………….

  7. Exclusive – the FAI have banned Bob Dylan from playing at Thomond Pk because there is a fixture on 100 miles away that night….

  8. This is fucking typical. If it was a small Dublin club, it would be all over Six One news as a cheer up piece. Because it’s the mid west, we get fucking shafted again. Fucking FAI! I’m sick to death of these idiots fucking up and not being held accountable for it. Fixtures can be moved. If there’s a pointless Ireland international friendly in which we get to watch the likes of Paul McShane play like a fucking donkey, there’s no bother at all. Try and get the team who are currently the world’s best to play your home team and generate millions for the region in the process and you get refused. Fucking knuckle-dragging, toerag fuckiing morons!

  9. Well said Cap’n, and spot on about Calamity McShane also. I believe there is a press con going on today in relation to the Aviva Stadium, there should be some more on this anon

  10. I’d prefer to keep calling it Lansdowne Road. That insurance company aren’t paying me to plug their brand.

  11. This match should not be allowed to go ahead. The FAI are responsible for soccer in this country, they hold the franchise, just like the IRFU hold the franchise for rugby.
    The priority is to promote the game locally, not to put on competing glamour fixtures just to raise money for publicans and hoteliers. The FAI and IRFU are professional organisations, and Thomond Park is a commercial venture. This is not the GAA, nobody owes the “sports mad mid west” anything; deal with it and move on.

    Surely after all the fuss about money that was made about the Good Friday licencing laws, people can see that in professional sports like soccer and rugby money is the overruling factor?

  12. Its simple Barcleona was just too plum a fixture to let slip outside of Dublin.
    So any excuse will do

  13. Bock, I keep saying Aviva in the hope that someone will hand me a brown envelope, not joy yet.

    The Barca game is not to raise money for publicans and hoteliers, it’s to raise money for Limerick FC and to raise their profile. Above will obviously make money out of it also, so what?

    Limerick FC deserve enormous credit for getting this friendly, at no little cost. The FAI should butt out. It is none of their dam business. The money raised from a fixture like this could be the difference between a club
    surviving or not.


  14. If there’s one cliché I find most annoying, it’s when someone tells me to “deal with it and move on”. Taken straight from some bad American TV show, it manages to be both pathetic and condescending at the same time.

  15. “The FAI and IRFU are professional organisations”???? Ok, the IRFU isn’t too bad but the FAI? Joe? Really? Do you work for the FAI? Condescending attitude aside, you’re completely wrong. This has nothing to do with what’s right. The FA don’t decide what friendlies Villa or Utd or Liverpool or any other club plays. This is an arrangement between clubs and Limerick are no different. In short, Joe, you’re talking through an orrifice which wasn’t designed with speech in mind.

  16. Limerick win 2-0 tonight – lots of chants questioning the parentage of the people involved in above decision.

    For some reason no chants expressing the desire that same whould win the lotto tomorrow – or even remain living. strange that.

  17. Very good article by Daniel McDonnell in the sports section of the Irish Independent today on the Barcelona fiasco, Seconds, well worth a read.

  18. Didn’t read that James, was out at the Lee fight. He’s a good man is Danny in the Indo.

  19. Disaster. Is it possible to hate anyone more than John Delaney? What an absolute fucking tool. Love his amended Wiki page!

  20. Well, looks like the game is gone now.
    Why dont Limerick FC get in touch with all the Airtricity league teams and formulate a joint response to this Orwellian attitude from the FAI?
    Delaney is taking on a Blatt persona in his Ah Fuck-Off attitude too, the jumped up little Bollix.

  21. GUBU is the word James. According to reports, the FAI say a deal with a third party – who are charged with attracting friendlies – precludes them from sanctioning friendlies with a capacity over 20,000 – this was revised downard to 15,000 in the space of a few hours – so if Limerick limited the capacity for the Barca game to 14,999 could it go ahead?

    The above was cited a few days after the papers ran a horse and carriage through the three pathetic excuse issued last weekend – as above. Whose the third party? Some say Kentaro, the shower that have us playing home games in London. You couldn’t make it up.

    Paul1eye, from the Indo

    Limerick had expressed a desire to appeal the decision. Yet the clubs who backed Limerick in a meeting on Monday night rowed back on their public support yesterday, issuing a statement which instead stressed the positive nature of the earlier part of the summit — which revolved around a discussion related to continuing the merger between the league and the FAI.

    It’s understood that a decision at the end of the gathering to support Limerick caused a stir in senior FAI circles. The chairman of the League of Ireland, Eamonn Naughton, is also on the board of the FAI.

  22. Could try and get Barca back and play a friendly against a “local selection” or something that the delaney mob have no control over. Now would’nt that p1ss them bunch of clowns right off !

  23. Big match tonight against table-toppers Derry, Seconds. Lets hope the goings on of the last 10 days bonds the squad together and improves team spirit, rather than makes them take their collective eye off the ball. Win tonight and we are favourites for the play-offs at least. It really is a massive game.

  24. Yep big one James, side is going well – I’d take a draw from it if it was offered. Left winger, Barca have announced they can’t fulfill the fixture because of the actions of the FAI – good idea though.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.