The Football Association of Ireland has begun offering massive discounts on 10-year tickets for the Aviva Stadium in a desperate bid to bring in extra cash before the first soccer international there next month.
The Sunday Tribune was recently offered a €12,000 ticket for €8,000 if the money was paid upfront, a discount of 33%. These tickets are behind the goal and secure the holder a seat to every soccer international match for the next 10 years.
Sideline seats, which have been sold to fans for €19,000 over recent months, are now being offered for €12,000 upfront, a discount of 37%.
The Sunday Tribune was quoted a figure of €56,000 for four Vantage 4 tickets and two Vantage 2 tickets. The previous price for this package was €86,000, meaning that the tickets have been discounted by 35%.
The sales agent said the heavy discounts were being offered to fans willing to pre-pay the entire amount upfront rather than pay by direct debit each month over 10 years.
The agent, in telephone conversations, added that "cash is king" and that anybody who has money upfront, "we will look after them".
The huge discounts being offered by the association are certain to anger the thousands of fans who have already paid the full price for the 10-year ticket packages.
Ten thousand Vantage Club tickets have been reserved for the Aviva stadium, but the FAI has been reluctant to reveal exactly how many have been sold. It is hoped that 6,000 will have been sold by 11 August, when Ireland play Argentina in the new stadium's first soccer international.
"In a small number of selected cases, for reasons such as volume purchases, discounts have been authorised based on the net present value of cash," a spokesman for the FAI?said yesterday. "Please note that in the case you refer to no sale was ultimately authorised and would not have been."