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'Crumbs from the rich man's table': Two Irish clubs snub FAI's €5k offering

St Patrick’s Athletic are the second SSE Airtricity League side to publicly criticise the grant.

The Saints' home ground Richmond Park.
The Saints' home ground Richmond Park.
Image: James Crombie

Updated at 23.20

SSE AIRTRICITY LEAGUE clubs St Patrick’s Athletic and Derry City have opted to turn down the €5,000 grant offered by the FAI.

The association has been roundly-criticised since announcing last week that it would assist each of the 20 Premier Division and First Division sides by making €100,000 available over the next five years.

Derry called the amount “disrespectful and disgraceful”, insisting they would be turning it down, while St Pat’s have released a statement tonight to say they will also be rejecting it.

“The board of St Patrick’s Athletic FC has decided that it will not accept the offer of €5,000 made by the FAI towards the expenses of each club in preparing a 5 year plan,” the statement reads.

“The board’s decision followed a report by its General Manager on the meeting with the FAI at which this proposal was made by the Association and the board’s decision acknowledges the lead given by the board of Derry City FC, a fellow member of the Premier Clubs Alliance (PCA), on the issue.

“The board of SPAFC wants its decision to serve as a clear message to the FAI that it has utterly failed in its responsibility to the domestic game and to those clubs who, in spite of its indifference, have managed to keep some semblance of professionalism within football in Ireland.

The board is of the view that the Association’s move and its timing was deliberately aimed at encouraging non Premier League clubs to stand with the current administrators of our league as the PCA set about its agenda of change.

“That it would do so in a week when Cork City FC and particularly Dundalk FC performed on the European stage at a level and with a verve that belies the manner in which they and the other clubs have been treated, is particularly disappointing.

“The board of SPAFC is committed to the establishment of a strong PCA which must be focused on rooting out the culture of disinterest that has prevailed throughout the FAI’s management of our League for too many years.

“Offering the proverbial “crumbs from the rich man’s table” will not shift the resolve of those clubs and those individuals determined to create a properly funded and professionally managed league in Ireland.”

The FAI have tonight responded to the statement, labelling it “extraordinary”:

“St Patrick’s Athletic were central to the agreement of the Strategic/business Plan grant initiative, through their representative, Frank Kinsella. To come out with this statement tonight defies all logic, and, is simply extraordinary,” FAI Director of Communications Ian Mallon told The42.

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Ben Blake

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