Tommy Dickson/INPHO A view of a corner flag at Rovers' Tallaght Stadium.
'Strong possibility' of legal action from First Division clubs following admittance of Rovers 'B'
Clubs have also discussed boycotting games against any ‘B’ sides allowed to compete in the competition.

A LEGAL RIPOSTE from First Division clubs is growing increasingly likely following today’s admittance of a Shamrock Rovers ‘B’ team to the second tier from 2020. 

The second tier faced the prospect of proceeding with nine teams this year following the folding of Limerick FC, but the vacant place will now be filled by a developmental Rovers side, competing under the title Shamrock Rovers II.

Rovers’ application was approved by the National League Executive Committee, and was today ratified by the FAI board.

The prospect of a ‘B’ team competing in the League has caused consternation among existing clubs, who released a statement on New Year’s Eve saying they are “unanimous in our view that this delivers no benefits to the sporting integrity of the league”, and warned that “this sets a dangerous precedent whereby the First Division could be populated by more B teams in future years thereby further demeaning its existence as a second-tier football league in Ireland.” 

First Division clubs will meet this evening to discuss their next steps now the decision has been confirmed, and The42 understands there is a strong possibility that today’s decision will lead to the clubs taking legal action against the league and the FAI. 

Prior to today’s confirmation, First Division clubs also discussed boycotting games against any ‘B’ teams admitted to the league. 

Elsewhere, Cabinteely Chairman Larry Bass – who is also a member of the FAI’s newly-established Finance Committee – told The42 he is “deeply disappointed” by today’s decision. 

“We are united with all First Division clubs, and some Premier Division clubs, that this is not in the best interests of Irish football. 

“It’s nothing to do with a particular club: the idea of a ‘B’ team devalues the whole league. 

“This is a scenario in which we thought things were changing in the FAI, but there is a flawed corporate governance issue here and there was zero consultation with the clubs.” 

The FAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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