FAI wins UEFA HatTrick award

The Football Association of Ireland’s outstanding hosting of a UEFA women’s qualifying tournament has earned the association a UEFA HatTrick Best Host Project Award.

FAI officials with the award. (Left to right) chief security officer and match operations manager Joe McGlue, international committee chairman Michael Hanley, match operations co-ordinator Joanne Martin and event controller Paul O’Brien
FAI officials with the award. (Left to right) chief security officer and match operations manager Joe McGlue, international committee chairman Michael Hanley, match operations co-ordinator Joanne Martin and event controller Paul O’Brien ©FAI

The UEFA HatTrick Committee plays a crucial role in helping UEFA provide essential assistance to its 55 member associations through its long-standing HatTrick programme – and rewards associations for the excellence of their work.

Consequently, the committee decided that the Football Association of Ireland’s (FAI) outstanding hosting of a UEFA women’s qualifying tournament should earn the association a UEFA HatTrick Best Host Project Award.

The UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship elite qualifying round tournament in April 2015, played in Cobh and Cork, met especially high standards in reaching the objective of delivering a well-organised and enjoyable tournament for players and spectators alike.

The tournament, which featured the Republic of Ireland, England, Hungary and Netherlands, captured the imagination of the public and raised the profile of women’s football across the country. Healthy crowds watched the matches, particularly the Irish team’s outings.

Engagement with local women’s and girls’ leagues and community groups was excellent, and the tournament received widespread coverage on TV, radio and in the written press.

Local facilities were showcased – hotels, training facilities and match stadiums – and the event helped to raise the profile of the players, demonstrating what girls could aspire to if they work hard and show dedication as footballers.

The UEFA HatTrick Award plaque was presented by FAI international committee chairman Michael Hanley to the association’s tournament director Joanne Martin at a recent meeting of the committee, and special mention was also given to event controller Paul O’Brien for the excellence of his contribution.

The HatTrick awards are open to all 55 UEFA member associations in five different categories – best investment project; best social project; best special project; best women's football development project; and best host project.

This initiative has a dual objective: recognising the outstanding work of UEFA's member associations, and providing the FAs with greater exposure within and outside the football family.