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Dublin: 19 °C Friday 14 August, 2020
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Derry City declare support for all-island league, urge other clubs to follow

‘We would encourage other clubs to acknowledge the fragility of the present arrangements,’ say the Candystripes as they give unwavering support for a new format.

Derry City players celebrate a goal against Finn Harps this year.
Derry City players celebrate a goal against Finn Harps this year.
Image: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

DERRY CITY HAVE today issued a statement to give their backing to the ‘impressive’ proposed all-island league.

The model presented by businessman Kieran Lucid and data company Hypercube could see IFA and FAI affiliated clubs play truncated versions of their existing competitions before a combined tournament.

The Candystripes’ statement is unwavering in its support for a tournament outlined by the All-Island League Advocacy Group, noting that the Covid-19 pandemic puts professional football at a ‘seminal’ point on both sides of the border.

“The pandemic has exposed the underlying fragility of the present model,” says the Derry City statement before urging other clubs to openly back that view and restructured competitions.

In pure business terms it is not viable. There is not enough income being generated to sustain the business. Great efforts are made to keep clubs in existence, but those efforts can only be limited as they lack the finances to grow the business.”

Commenting broadly on the report into the viability of 32-county tournament, the uniquely-positioned Airtricity League club said:

“Derry City is impressed by the thoroughness of the research, the understanding and sensitive way in which all clubs on the island were approached and heard, and by the weight of the financial benefits for all stakeholders that would result from the recommendations contained in the report.

“Particularly impressive is the model that accommodates the two leagues on the island to maintain their present structures and yet accommodating an all island structure. Equally impressive is the format that will accommodate smaller clubs to remain comfortably within financial demands while having the opportunity and support to become more ambitious for their players and supporters.

“This is a seminal moment in the well being and even existence of professional football on this island.

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“Presently, we have two football leagues, both precarious in structure and financial viability. The consequence of the corona virus has added to the difficulties of maintaining a football club.”

The statement adds:

“It always shocks fans when they discover that the prizemoney for winning the League in the north is £22,000 and in the southern league the prizemoney is €110,000.

“Pitted against the reality that it takes over £1,000,000 a year to maintain a medium successful club and the financial difficulties become apparent. 

“We are informed that the IFA and the FAI have agreed to jointly examine the report. We see this as creative and important.”

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Sean Farrell

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