Yesterday’s FAI Briefing was primarily taken up wit talk of International Management but there was plenty more in what CEO Jonathan Hill spoke about, not least the improvement in revenues flowing into the Association.

“It is looking like we will have revenue in 2023 of €55 million as opposed to the forecast of €50 million,” he said.

“All three of our key revenue pillars are performing well.”

“Season ticket sales for the international Men’s team were at a higher level than ever before with sales of 24,000 tickets. We also introduced a popular season ticket for the Women’s team and we are tracking towards an attendance of around 30,000 for the UEFA Nations League game against Northern Ireland on September 23rd.”

Broadcast revenues are tied up in the collective rights of UEFA for international competitions while interest from Virgin media, RTÉ and TG4 in the domestic game is another positive alongside the growing popularity of the LOITV service.

In answer to a question from us Hill dived a little deeper into the sponsorship question which continues to arise in the absence of a lead partner after 3’d departure but which might after all not be as important as some would feel.

Sponsorship agreements have been renewed with Nissan, Cadbury, Statsports, Intersport Elverys, Weetabix and SSE Airtricity. We have also secured new sponsorship opportunities and signed deals with with Castore, Circle K, Britvic, Sports Direct, DMG Media and Avenir Sports, and there are more to come.”

“We do continue to seek a sponsor for the men’s national team but only with the right partner and at the right level of investment.”

“They have to invest in the sponsorship but also to invest over and above that in activating in the right way for them and for Irish football.”

“The 3 deal was a good deal but it may not have been as good as people were led to believe at the tijme. it was in fact less than the deal we have now in place with Castore.”

“at that time the focus was primarily on the lead sponsor and less on the secondary ones. What sean Kavanagh has done now is to elevate the value of those secondary sponsors.”

The relationship which we have now with Circle K and Aviva is very strong and there is room for maybe one more at that level.”

“There is scope for a Champions League style model where you have a number of different partners, the cumulative value of which is more than the 3 deal.”

There is no capacity for the sponsor brand to be on the main shirt and there is a rarity in international teams doing so on replica shirts in the fashion that the Republic of Ireland traditionally has done.

The contribution which Sky and Cadbury in particular made into the Women’s team in advance of the World Cup was exceptional and having multiple brands with the ability and the enthusiasm to do similarly in the men’s game may be a more exciting, potentially more lucrative, and certainly more attainable than the single brand.

That’s not the position of the FAI at the moment but the search is proving to be on a wider basis in more navigable financial waters and is proving to be a winner so far.