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Dublin: 3°C Sunday 28 February 2021

The League of Ireland's future will be decided at a convention in Dublin next month

FAI General Manager Noel Mooney today chaired a ‘positive’ seminar where all 20 clubs were represented.

FAI General Manager Noel Mooney.
FAI General Manager Noel Mooney.

THE FUTURE OF the League of Ireland will be decided at a club convention to be held in Dublin next month.

All 20 league clubs and other stakeholders were present at a seminar chaired by FAI General Manager Noel Mooney today in Tallaght. The FAI described the meeting as ‘very positive.’

Clubs were presented with future plans for the SSE Airtricity League, as envisaged by the League of Ireland Working Group, which was set up in July — made up of representatives from eight clubs.

Proposals were met with a positive response from the 20 clubs, the FAI said. The clubs will now consider the finer details when presented for approval at the upcoming club convention in November.

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

noel-mooney The league's future will be decided at next month's club convention in Dublin. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“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,” said General Manager Mooney.

“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.”

Encouraged by discussions at today’s meeting, Mooney said a realistic, promising future for Irish football had been laid out.

“We believe a course has now been plotted that excites and empowers the clubs to strive for more,” he said.

“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.”

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A group led by Niall Quinn and Kieran Foley yesterday withdrew their interest in working with clubs and the FAI on the future of the League of Ireland.

The pair’s visionary Group, which published a blueprint for the future of Irish football back in May, proposed that the Airtricity League be run by a commercial third party, independent of the FAI.

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

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Aaron Gallagher

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