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Niall Quinn's group withdraw as FAI and clubs to meet about future of the League of Ireland

Kieran Lucid’s proposal for an all-island league remains on the table.

Niall Quinn at the FAI Cup semi-final between Sligo and Dundalk last month.
Niall Quinn at the FAI Cup semi-final between Sligo and Dundalk last month.
Image: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

HAVING PROPOSED EXTENSIVE restructures of the League of Ireland in their strategic review of Irish football in May, Niall Quinn, Kieran Foley and the rest of their visionary Group have withdrawn interest from working with clubs and the FAI on the future of the competition. 

Quinn, Foley and the group published their blueprint for the future of Irish football in May, and although they have been consulting with clubs and the FAI as both parties plan for the future of the League, they have now withdrawn from the process. They had proposed that the League be independent from the FAI, run by a commerical, third party.

The future format and control of the League has been under discussion in recent months. With the FAI’s control of the league scheduled to be loosed from next year, coupled with the level of upheaval at the Association lately accelerating the planing for the future.

The FAI met with league clubs across a weekend in July, after which a working group representing eight clubs was established to discuss the next steps. 

That working group will present their vision for the future of the League at a meeting with all 20 clubs at Tallaght stadium next Tuesday afternoon. Representatives from the League Managers’ Association, the PFAI and the Irish supporters’ network will also be present, along with the FAI’s interim General Manager Noel Mooney.

The working group have considered external submissions on the League’s future, and have taken advice from Uefa. 

Among the prospects still on the table is the All-Island league, as championed by tech entrepreneur Kieran Lucid. He will not be present at Tuesday’s meeting, but will soon bring clubs from North and South together to give an update on his plans. 

Noel Mooney says he is eager for a final decision to be agreed upon before the FAI Cup final in three weeks’ time. 

“We all desperately want an ever improving and growing professional football industry in Ireland with a successful League of Ireland at the heart of Irish football”, Mooney told the FAI. 

“We do not have time to waste and we hope that the clubs can make a big decision before the FAI Cup Final in November so that we can build a better future for Irish football.”

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Gavin Cooney

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