Niall Quinn and the FAI remain optimistic about Euro 2020 play-off
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Niall Quinn and the FAI remain optimistic about Euro 2020 play-off

NIALL QUINN says the FAI are still working on the proviso that the Euro 2020 play-off semi final will go ahead this summer.

UEFA stated last week that the semi final between Slovakia and Ireland has now been pencilled in for between June 1 to 9. Such a schedule seems fanciful, in light of the recent events that have fallen by the wayside due to Covid 19.

Interim deputy chief executive Quinn is cautious about football played behind closed doors or any other provision which enables the game to go ahead. “Will it happen?  Will the medical world allow that, we don’t know,” he said.

“Will the HSE and government allow fans and players to travel. We don’t want to put anyone in danger, that’s the first thing.

“But if there is a lift and there is a possibility of those games going ahead that will be something concrete to work towards.”

Last week’s move by UEFA to switch this summer’s scheduled event 2021 does offer one consolation to Irish football. Dublin, as one of 12 hosts of the tournament, will host four matches next year –  should Ireland qualify or not.

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“If it all comes to pass it will be great,” said Quinn. “ We have worked so hard and our partners have worked this year to it on and that’s a blow. It’s also a blow to the hospitality sector and the exchequer.

“But it’s just been put out for the year and our partners have indicated today that we’re going to stay strong, roll ours sleeves up and get stuck into what will be another long process to make sure we can turn it around in next year.  There are a lot of good people who have done a lot of good work up to now.

And he added: “It’s a bump in the road, there’s no doubt about that. But we’re going to work hard  to make sure we have a great tournament in 2021.

“What a time to do it 2021 – the centenary year. To have something new in Irish football whilst, at the same time, being able to look back 100 years on the organisation. To have it all, the icing on the cake, will be to have tournament games in Dublin.  With Ireland playing - even better.”