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FAI confirms talks over England Aviva friendly

The FAI admits it’s looking to bring England to Dublin for the first time since the infamous abandoned game in 1995.

England fans tore seats from the West Stand of Lansdowne Road the last time the teams met, resulting in the fixture being abandoned.
England fans tore seats from the West Stand of Lansdowne Road the last time the teams met, resulting in the fixture being abandoned.
Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

THE FAI HAS officially confirmed that it has begun talks with the English FA on the prospect of holding an international friendly match between the Republic of Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium.

Reports had circulated yesterday that the the two associations had opened talks on a game, which it was thought would plug a gap in the England fixture list after they cancelled a scheduled game in Thailand for June 8th.

Last night, amid no official comment from the English FA, the FAI said it was indeed holding talks on the potentially huge fixture.

It denied, however, that it was hoping to hold the game as early as next June, when Ireland also has no fixture planned.

“In response to media speculation,” a brief statement read, “the Football Association of Ireland this evening (December 10) confirmed that it is in discussions with the English FA about a possible friendly match in Dublin however the June date reported in this morning’s newspapers is incorrect.

“The discussions are ongoing and it is expected that an announcement will be made within the next month.”

England’s game against Thailand had been arranged on the basis of a World Cup vote that, as it transpired, England did not receive. Ireland did not already have a June 8 game arranged.

If the negotiations lead to a full game, it would be the first time that an English soccer team would visit Dublin since the infamous 1995 game which was abandoned after 27 minutes due to rioting on the part of England fans.

The match could also mean the renewed prospect of a visit from Queen Elizabeth, with President Mary McAleese known to be keen to have the Queen visit Ireland before her own term of office ends in November 2011.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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