Belfast Telegraph

We won't blow Euro millions, says IFA chief Patrick Nelson

By Steven Beacom

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson has insisted the Association won't waste the millions coming their way following Northern Ireland's qualification for the Euro 2016 finals.

It is estimated that the IFA will earn a minimum of £8m from Uefa prize money, merchandising and ticket sales and that is even before naming rights for Windsor Park and other sponsorship deals are considered.

While acknowledging mistakes were made in the past, such as when the IFA had to pay former chief executive Howard Wells £500,000 in an unfair dismissal case, Nelson is confident that this time they will get it right.

For starters they will, as revealed in yesterday's Belfast Telegraph, offer manager Michael O'Neill an extension to his four-year contract, significantly improving his current £250,000-a-year terms.

That move will go down well with the Northern Ireland players and fans.

In a wide-ranging interview about what reaching the Euro finals means to the IFA, Windsor Park and potential deals, which include Tennants becoming the new Irish Cup sponsors, Nelson said: "From being an organisation that people had concerns over, we are in a position now where we are a well-governed association and hopefully that will continue into the future.

"We are looking forward to this opportunity after the team qualified for the Euro 2016 finals.

"We have waited 30 years for this opportunity. We know exprectations are high and it is our job to meet them."

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's next match following their Euro heroics is set to be a friendly at home to Iceland in November. Iceland have also qualified for Euro 2015 and an announcement about the match is expected in the next few days.

Belfast Telegraph