The famous beer brand and regular football partner Carling has been announced as sponsor for the inaugural Carling Nations Cup – A sort of home international tournament that will take place at the new state of the art Aviva Stadium in Ireland.
The competition will be the first senior international football tournament to be hosted in Ireland and the event will kick off on February 8th 2011.
The Republic of Ireland will take on Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the tournament which will be played in a league format with six matches between the four neighbouring teams, the first two taking place at the Aviva Stadium on February 8 and 9 and the remaining four taking place week commencing Monday May 23.
Carling has been a major sponsor of football for many years, and today’s announcement builds upon its range of other sponsorships which include the Carling Cup in England and Wales, the Carling Premiership in Northern Ireland and most recently its sponsorship of the Scottish national team and Scottish Cup.
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney said; “We are delighted to have secured Carling as the title sponsor for the Carling Nations Cup. We will be working closely with Carling to make it an exciting festival of football for fans, tapping into the many friendships and local rivalries that exist between the four participating countries. The Carling Nations Cup will be a significant boost for local tourism and businesses in the Dublin area and we look forward to welcoming thousands of fans from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to our new Aviva Stadium in February and May 2011.”
Former Ireland goalkeeper Packie Bonner, who earned 80 caps and is famously remembered for his penalty save against Romania at the 1990 World Cup, was on hand to lend his support, alongside former internationals Pat Jennings of Northern Ireland, Craig Burley of Scotland and Ian Walsh of Wales.
Speaking at the launch, Packie Bonner said: “The Carling Nations Cup is going to be a fantastic new tournament for fans of Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and also gives our international teams a chance to compete against each other in a wonderful new stadium. There is always a special atmosphere when international teams from Ireland and Britain play against each other and now we don’t have to rely on being drawn together in World Cup or European Championship qualifying groups. It’s all very exciting.”
“It’s great to see a brand like Carling, which is a huge supporter of football, lend its support to this tournament. To use a goalkeeping term, the tournament is in safe hands,” concluded Packie.
The only shame for me is that England are not involved, but have to say that may not be a bad thing.