League of Ireland clubs to consider proposal for games behind closed doors

Working document ‘offers a real platform for debate about a return to football’, says Niall Quinn.

Sligo Rovers' Showgrounds: games could be played behind closed doors.
Sligo Rovers' Showgrounds: games could be played behind closed doors.
Image: Evan Logan/INPHO

PAY-PER-VIEW streaming of League of Ireland matches is among the options being explored if domestic soccer gets the green light to return behind closed doors.

All League of Ireland clubs today received a working document outlining the recommended best practices around an eventual return to action and the challenges which may be posed by ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

The current best-case scenario would see games resume on 19 June, although league officials are also weighing up their options if the sporting shutdown continues until the autumn. 

Among the considerations is the substantial loss of revenue which cash-strapped clubs will face if games are played in empty stadiums.

The ‘Return To Football – Behind Closed Doors’ document was drawn up by the FAI, the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland and the National League Executive Committee, and circulated to clubs today so that they can assess the plans and give their feedback. 

“The working document presented to the clubs today offers a real platform for debate about a return to football when we get the go-ahead from Government and health officials,” the FAI’s interim Deputy CEO, Niall Quinn, said in a statement.

“They will of course have the final say on when we return and under what circumstances, but it is imperative on us as a working group to present the best options available to our clubs.

“This document offers the clubs an insight into best practice for staging games behind closed doors. The Association also remains committed to exploring the best financial proposition available to our clubs and players at this time.

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“Analysis of the financial impact of playing behind doors is well underway with our clubs and we are examining potential revenue streams from live streaming and other sources.

“This is a united effort and we look forward to further engagement with the NLEC, the PFAI, the referees and the clubs themselves.”

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Niall Kelly

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