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Softly, Softly approach for the League of Ireland

League of Ireland | LOI


The Premier League in England is back, as are some of the other European leagues. Our European representatives now know the dates for their European games. But still there is no white smoke on a resumption of our own domestic league.

It’s a case of a softly-softly approach from all involved. Discussions between the clubs and the FAI will continue out of the public view until a solution is found. The recent proposal from the FAI that the four European representatives would forego 100k each of their prizemoney in order to help restart the league was rejected by the clubs [and rightly so]. An alternative needs to be found.

We are lucky in that we don’t have the same urgency as other countries who play a winter soccer league. They had to get back up and running in order to complete their 2019-20 campaigns. We can wait until September if we have to in order to restart, although that would mean a reduced campaign of two rounds of matches.

It must have been embarrassing for the FAI to ask the clubs for the money the other week. In their defence you could say about the ‘new’ FAI that they were extremely unlucky to have had COVID19 thrown at them so early in their tenure. Money from UEFA that could have been drawn down to help with the current crisis had already been spent by the ‘old’ FAI.

Now isn’t the time for sarcasm, criticism or making fun of the FAI. They are trying to find a formula to get the league restarted, and that’s something we all want. If it is behind closed doors then get it on the television so we can watch it and so the clubs can get revenue that way. If it is with crowds allowed with social distancing then fine. Just get our league back up and running.

So, Dundalk will kick-off their Champions League campaign on August 18/19, while Bohemians, Shamrock Rovers and Derry City will commence Europa League action on August 27. The players have been back training for some time now but with no league games in sight these sides badly need the proposed mini-tournament involving the four of them to go ahead if they are to get match practice before the European games. Without that they won’t do themselves – or our league – justice.

A softly-softly approach involves quiet and reasonable discussions between all involved. Keep discussions private until there is something concrete to report. There is too much at stake for a resolution not to be found.

Brian Quigley

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