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'Eleven weeks is simply a remarkable period to go without a home league fixture'

Sligo Rovers have released a statement criticising the decision to postpone their weekend clash against Dundalk.

A general view of The Showgrounds.
A general view of The Showgrounds.
Image: Evan Logan/INPHO

SLIGO ROVERS HAVE released a lengthy statement hitting out at the decision to postpone their meeting with Dundalk on Sunday because of the Lilywhites’ Europa League involvement

Subsequently, it’ll be 77 days since the Bit O’Red’s last home League of Ireland game until their next — they played Waterford on 30 June and face St Patrick’s Athletic on 15 September.

The clash has been postponed by the FAI to allow the league leaders a week to prepare for the visit of AEK Larnaca to Oriel Park next Thursday.

But Sligo are unhappy with the outcome.

“Eleven weeks is simply a remarkable period to go without a home league fixture,” the Sligo Rover’s Management Committee wrote.

“The lack of home league gates creates a challenge for the club. As always we understand our supporters will be concerned, firstly knowing they cannot enjoy watching the team in league action for 11 weeks, and then the clear financial strain it puts on us without gate receipts for such a time.

“It was our hope that no league games would be postponed in the July period because of European football. We have competed in Europe in the recent past and recognise the difficulties of playing Thursday-Sunday-Thursday.

“However, given the importance of the game to our club, for gate receipts, for bridging the gap of lack of home games, we refused numerous requests from Dundalk FC to postpone the game. The FAI were made aware we refused to postpone the game. Several games have been played in the middle of European fixtures in recent years, including involving ourselves.

“It is clear that a free weekend will give Dundalk FC an additional help in Europe and we understand the benefit. We respect it and wish them well next week.

“Last Saturday, league officials opted that any team that progresses in Europe would have a free weekend regardless of circumstance. We were very disappointed by this decision.

“Sligo Rovers have conveyed our disappointment to the FAI and the long period between home league games which has been added to now.

“These concerns will be reiterated and that it is not just clubs in Europe that need to be given priority in order to be successful. Clubs in our position simply cannot function with such logic.

“The decision to postpone the game is the wrong one in our view.”

They added: “Recent events in the league have not been welcomed by anybody.

“We have sympathies for such situations and regret it is the focus of attention on Irish football now. As one of the few clubs in the Premier Division reliant on community funding, the support of the Sligo public and beyond maintains our club.

“In future we would like actions to support clubs like ours facing predicaments and 11-week fixture gaps can be avoided.”

In the statement, Sligo recognised that they have two other home fixtures in the period — they welcome Derry City to The Showgrounds for the EA Sports Cup semi-final on Monday 6 August and face Longford Town on the 11 August in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup.

They urged supporters to attend the games and ‘help the club over the next two-and-a-half months by turning this scenario into Cup runs and a brighter future.’

They also added their well wishes and respect for Dundalk FC.

You can read the statement in full here.

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Emma Duffy

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