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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 13:56 GMT
Croke to host 2007 internationals
Croke Park
Croke Park is one of the finest stadiums in Europe
Ireland's Six Nations games and the Republic of Ireland's European Football Championship qualifiers will be staged at Dublin's Croke Park next year.

The Gaelic Athletic Association has reached agreement with the IRFU and the FAI over the use of the 80,000-capacity stadium for rugby and soccer in 2007.

Lansdowne Road is set to close early next year for redevelopment work.

Croke Park will stage two Six Nations rugby internationals next February and at least three football games.

The football internationals are likely to take place in March, October and November of next year.

France are expected to be the first rugby visitors to Croke Park on 11 February while England will take to the field at the north Dublin venue later that month.

The joint-statement said that terms and conditions of the agreement would remain confidential although it is understood that the GAA will receive around 1m per game.

It added that the situation post-2007 had not been discussed or considered and that any future application would "be reviewed in the context of the Lansdowne Road Development project in 2007".

It will be a major celebration for Irish sport
IRFU chief executive Philip Browne

The GAA is unwilling to commit itself beyond 2007 at this stage because of concerns that the objections by residents could delay the beginning of the Lansdowne Road redevelopment.

GAA president Sean Kelly said he was pleased that agreement had been reached.

"The development is practical and necessary to ensure that Irish sport and Irish sports followers do not have to travel abroad," he said.

"The Irish economy will also benefit from having access to home games while Lansdowne Road stadium is being developed."

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne described the agreement as a "significant milestone in Irish sport" while FAI chief executive John Delaney described the development as "historic".

"We are delighted to have reached agreement with the GAA in a very positive, productive and businesslike manner," said Delaney.

"It will be a major celebration for Irish sport and indeed for the general public in Ireland. The entire rugby community looks forward to what will be magnificent sporting occasions at Croke Park," added Browne.

The GAA's ruling body set aside the organisation's controversial rule 42, which banned the use of their headquarters for foreign sports, last April following years of sometimes bitter internal and external debate.

Sporting bodies in talks with GAA
10 Jan 06 |  Gaelic Games
IRFU and FAI get 2007 green light
10 Dec 05 |  Gaelic Games
Croke Park opened to other sports
16 Apr 05 |  Gaelic Games

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