Belfast Telegraph

Irish FA score £4 MILLION cash bonanza as O'Neill's success story sends profits soaring

 

By Jim Gracey

Northern Ireland football recorded a second major result in four days as the Irish FA reported a record near £4m profit for 2016 at its annual general meeting at the Armagh City Hotel on Tuesday night.

And more riches could follow with Michael O'Neill's side perfectly poised to secure a play-off place for next summer's World Cup finals in Russia after Saturday night's 1-0 win over Azerbaijan in Baku.

The majority share of the £3.7m bonanza flowed from qualification for last summer's Euro 2016 Finals in France with Northern Ireland reaching the last 16 knockout stages before losing to Wales.

More revenue flowed from significant increases in sponsorship revenue as a result of the football feelgood factor generated by reaching the finals, the official opening of the new National Football Stadium at Windsor Park and the sale of the Irish FA's former premises at Windsor Avenue.

In addition to the record surplus, £1.5m has been awarded to the IFA Foundation, the Association's new charitable arm, established earlier this year to deliver football development work and to further equip the IFA to grow the game at all levels.

IFA Chief Executive Patrick Nelson told the meeting: "It is pleasing to report such healthy financial results and we can look forward to the future with even more confidence. 2016 was a successful year, on and off the pitch, and we still have highly exciting events to look forward in 2017, with the Women's U19 Championship in August, the crucial World Cup qualifiers and hopefully a play-off.

"While we have been successful financially, it is the responsibility of the Association to use that money to grow the game for all in the football family.

"To that end, we will be publishing a revised strategy later this month which will outline how we will continue to promote, foster and develop football for all in Northern Ireland over the next five years."

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