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Dublin: 8°C Saturday 31 October 2020
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Quinn: FAI looking at streaming League of Ireland matches behind a paywall

St Patrick’s Athletic president Tom O’Mahony believes playing behind closed doors is not an option, however.

Quinn speaking to St Patrick's Athletic director of football Ger O'Brien earlier this season.
Quinn speaking to St Patrick's Athletic director of football Ger O'Brien earlier this season.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

FAI INTERIM DEPUTY chief executive Niall Quinn says the association is looking into the feasibility of a streaming service that would show League of Ireland matches.

With football currently suspended, the FAI and the SSE Airtricity League are considering several options in a bid to rescue the 2020 campaign, which was only five rounds in when the spread of Covid-19 forced a halt. 

One option is playing games behind closed doors and streaming them live online, with fans paying a subscription fee to view the matches. 

“I think we are looking elsewhere,” Quinn told Newstalk Breakfast. “We have gone a long way down the line looking at a streaming option where all games can be accessed via a digital paywall.

“That’s technically in a really good position, so that can happen if that’s where we believe the clubs can go. We’d look at a financial audit there and find out exactly what would be required from streaming to make it feasible.

“There’s also now at the moment the possibility of a contribution from Fifa. I think Uefa have been very good to us, I think the government have been very good to us, so we wouldn’t refuse anything, but Fifa have expressed a public willingness to assist associations hit hard in the current pandemic.

We are looking at that as well as trying to put that together with a potential streaming revenue and say to clubs — this is what it all adds up to and it’s up to you now at this point where you want to go.”

However, St Patrick’s Athletic president Tom O’Mahony doesn’t believe hosting matches behind closed doors is realistic. 

A day after the Dublin club announced that it has been forced to temporarily lay off its players and coaching staff, he told RTE: 

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“There is no possibility that the income stream that could come from that would in any way be sufficient to make it viable. So behind closes doors football is not going to happen for the League of Ireland.” 

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Ben Blake

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