SOCCER

Radical overhaul of Airtricity League could be on the cards - Finn Harps watch with interest

Chris Ashmore

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Chris Ashmore

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editorial@donegaldemocrat.com

Radical overhaul of Airtricity League could be on the cards - Finn Harps watch with interest

Finn Harps could be playing in a revamped league in the years ahead

The future of the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland will be decided at a club convention in Dublin in November following a ‘very positive’ meeting in Tallaght on Tuesday.

In years to come, Finn Harps could be playing in a totally revamped league - and there could even be an All-Ireland element.

All 20 League clubs and other stakeholders were represented at the seminar, which was addressed by the LOI Working Group, set up in July.

The clubs were presented with the future plans for the League as envisaged by the Working Group, made up of representatives from eight clubs.

The proposals met with a positive response from the 20 clubs who will now consider the finer details when they are presented for approval at the club convention in November.

This convention will also consider the outcome of a meeting in Dundalk later this month when Kieran Lucid will present his latest All-Island League plans to clubs from the League of Ireland and the Irish League.      

FAI General Manager Noel Mooney chaired the Tallaght presentation and has welcomed the findings of the Working Group.

Mooney said: “The League of Ireland Working Group have created a tangible vision for professional football in Ireland that offers us the opportunity to deliver upon the potential of our league.

“What was clear again today is that we all want the same things - greater interest, bigger attendances, revenues and viewership figures, better facilities, youth academies and a number of other key pillars required to achieve our ambitions.

“We believe a course has now been plotted that excites and empowers the clubs to strive for more. Notwithstanding the external discussions on an All-Island League which continues to be of interest to our clubs, the way forward is now clearer should the clubs decide to take it.

“This really is an exciting time for the League and we must grab the opportunity with both hands.”

Shamrock Rovers director Byrne will serve as the first President of the National League Executive Committee elected since the FAI adopted the recommendations in the Governance Review Group report published in the summer.

He is joined on the NLEC by Drogheda’s McArdle with Dundalk’s Martin Connolly and St Patrick's Athletic's Anthony Delaney also elected.

Galway United’s Peadar Ryan will represent the First Division clubs on the NLEC with the FAI’s Board and Senior Council both to nominate one member each who cannot have an association with a League club.

The NLEC can also co-opt two external specialists to the committee, subject to the approval of the FAI Board.

The meeting also elected Noel Byrne of Shamrock Rovers as President of the National League Executive Committee with Drogheda United’s Jim McArdle as vice-president.