Dundalk FC owners PEAK6 have denied recent claims that they had planned to move the club to Dublin.
Reports earlier this month suggested that the club’s American owners wanted to make the Aviva Stadium their new home ground with plans to transport supporters to games via train.
In a statement on the matter, PEAK6 also denied that they wanted to acquire the Dublin 4 venue, saying instead that they had offered to manage the stadium on the FAI’s behalf to make it profitable.
A statement from the Chicago-based company said: “There is no truth in saying we wanted to acquire Aviva Stadium. We did offer to manage the Stadium.
“The FAI is in pretty bad financial straits and has few assets. Aviva Stadium, even prior to this year, was a drain on the resources of the FAI.
This year it will be worse because of Covid-19 although the government is paying the stadium €7 million over the next 2 years for the FAI.
“PEAK6 offered to take control of the management of the stadium and help the FAI, IRFU and the Irish taxpayers by making the Aviva profitable, useful, and a beacon to attract travel to the Republic. Unfortunately they rejected the proposal preferring to limit its use and force the Irish taxpayers to cover losses.”
The statement went on to say that it was never the intention of PEAK6 to move the reigning SSE Airtricity League champions to Dublin but they did admit to requesting to play a number of matches there in the event of upgrade works being carried out at Oriel Park.
“PEAK6’s only ask was for a train from Dundalk to the stadium for Dundalk fans and the number of games to be played there was only going to be 10.
“The reasons were numerous, providing activity in the stadium, providing a place for Dundalk to play during any refurbishing of Oriel park, improving the reach of the League of Ireland, etc.
“At no time was it suggested that Dundalk would move to Dublin.”
Elaborating on the statement, Dundalk FC chairman Bill Hulsizer – father of PEAK6 owner Matt – hit out at the FAI and IRFU for their failure to make the Aviva Stadium a profitable entity.
“We were informed that the IRFU had no interest in running the stadium at a profit and were content to have it available for their matches and had no interest in a profit. The letter came from the FAI and in fairness there was no contact with the IRFU.
“I noted recently the IRFU reaching out to the government for financial help because of Covid-19 and find it ironic the utilising of an asset to obtain cash is less acceptable than asking the Irish Government and the Irish taxpayer to bail them out.”
The FAI have refused to comment on reports that the American investment group tried to buy the Association’s stake in the Aviva Stadium.
The old Lansdowne Road was redeveloped by the FAI and IRFU with the Government paying €191m of the total €460m cost. The development has proved a hindrance to the FAI, however, and was a large reason why its debts stood at €62 million at the start of the year.