The FAI has today announced a three-year partnership with leading sports retail group Sports Direct.

The agreement sees Sports Direct become the principal partner to both the Men’s and Women’s FAI Cups for the next three seasons with the competitions now to be known as the Sports Direct Men’s FAI Cup and the Sports Direct Women’s FAI Cup.

Alongside Sports Direct’s financial commitment, the partnership will see the FAI and Sports Direct collaborate on several campaigns and projects designed to further enhance the profile of the Men’s and Women’s FAI Cups.

There is a sense of irony, or maybe something restorative in Sports Direct coming back to the table. An ill-fated deal between the two under the era of John Delaney was one of the elements that led to his and almost the FAI’s downfall in 2019.

That was then though, and this is now.

A total of 32 Clubs will be a part of the Sports Direct Men’s FAI Cup 2023 First Round draw on June 6th while 15 Clubs will compete for the Sports Direct Women’s FAI Cup in 2023.

“We are pleased to announce this new partnership with Sports Direct who, as Title Sponsor, will play a key role in helping us bring both Cups to an even bigger audience,” said FAI CEO Jonathan Hill.

“We believe there is huge potential within both competitions, and it is great for us to secure another partner at Lead level to match our ambition for the competition.”

“Today’s announcement is an exciting day for the FAI, and we feel it marks the start of a new era for the Sports Direct Men’s and Women’s FAI Cups,” added Commercial Director Sean Kavanagh.

“It was clear to us in our conversations with Sports Direct that they share the same vision and ambition as us for the competitions. We are looking forward to working closely with Sports Direct in the coming years and are excited at the plans they have to activate the partnership which will help us to further elevate Ireland’s biggest Cup competitions.”

“Together, we will work closely across a range of different campaigns and activations all of which will help us engage an even bigger audience for the Sports Direct Men’s and Women’s FAI Cups from the first round right through to the finals in November at the Aviva Stadium and Tallaght Stadium.”

“I would also like to thank DMG Media for their huge support over recent years as Title Sponsor of the FAI Cups and we look forward to entering a new partnership, which will be announced in the coming weeks.”

“The FAI Cup is rich with history but also has so much more to look forward to in the coming years and we feel that this partnership is the perfect fit for us,” said Leonard Brassel, Managing Director of Sports Direct Ireland.