Ireland needs to build a new ‘signature stadium’ if it is serious about bidding to host the World Cup with the UK, according to a Fianna Fáil senator.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Senator Shane Cassells noted that Croke Park will be 35 years old by the time the 2030 tournament rolls around.
He said the upcoming World Cup in Qatar shows that World Cup bids are ‘serious business’ – with hosts expected to provide state-of-the-art stadiums.
Senator Cassels said the money Ireland is currently planning to spend on the joint bid is “small money” when you look at the figures spent by previous hosts.
“Are we really serious? Because to actually host something like the World Cup, you are going to have to provide the best in stadium infrastructure,” said Senator Cassells.
“Are we really serious or are we just tagging along? That goes to the heart of the issue here – if we are really serious, we are going to have to look at not just the stadium infrastructure but our public infrastructure.”
The five-association bid would bring the World Cup to Ireland and Britain in nine years’ time.
The Government has committed to spending €2m over four years to secure the tournament, which goes up for tender next year.
Senator Cassells said a recent assessment of Croke Park found that at least €16m should be spent on basic upgrades.
“Remember, in 2030, the two key stadiums we have in the city … Croke Park will be 35 years old at that point and the Aviva will be 20 years old,” he said.
“Fans will know sports stadiums are evolving all the time. We can see by the stadium that Spurs have in London – that is the kind of world stadia that is probably required.”
"Just tagging along"
He said Ireland would be ‘just tagging along’ with the UK if it has no plans for a new stadium.
“We can be actually serious about this in trying to bring a really big world event to Ireland and be part of that,” he said. “That is the conversation that has to happen now.
“We can’t just tag along. If we are serious, let’s make sure we put our best foot forward and actually bring it to the country.”
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