Gavin says FAI leaving Waterford and Henderson to sort out differences

Fran Gavin is adamant the FAI will be staying out of the dispute between Waterford United and Stephen Henderson.

The former Blues manager this week issued a petition to wind up the First Division club, claiming outstanding monies believed to be a five-figure sum.

“It’s an industrial relations issue and I’d like to see it sorted,” he said. “There have been no requests to us from either side to get involved. According to Waterford, both parties are in discussions and we would encourage that.”

One change certain for next season, according to the league chief, is the entry of a unified club representing Galway into the First Division.

That may not be pleasing on the ears for existing club Mervue United, yet Gavin reiterated that “everybody has signed up to Galway having one club in the First Division”.

“It’s gone very well, the clubs are all involved, Mervue, Salthill, the Galway FA and GUST – they’re all involved in the process of the getting the club up and running. I think over the next few months, we’ll see a lot of movement in Galway.”

Attendances so far this season at Premier League games have mirrored those at this time last term, with an average of 1,700. The intensity of the title-race is the main reason why Gavin believes his target of a 2,000 average will be attained by the end of the season in October.

Crowds at First Division games are slightly down, dropping to an average of 350 per match. Despite that dwindling number, and the presence of just seven teams in the second tier, Gavin is still against a one-division league.

“In sport that you need competition with promotion and relegation,” he insisted.

“That way, matches are competitive up until the last few games of the season. We’ve had that, nearly every game counts”

On the matter of a proposed new U17 national league, Gavin said he expected this to start by the end of 2014.

“We need to hear the thoughts of the new High Performance Director Ruud Dokter who starts on August 1 but we have advanced plans on the U17 league,” he said.

“The league clubs are anxious to get it in. Hopefully, by end of the next 18 months, we should see a development and we’d like to kick it off. Younger players are getting the opportunity in first-teams because of financial positions at some clubs. They haven’t got big squads so they’re getting chances earlier. A lot are them are taking those chances.

“They’re starting to get the notice of our underage international managers. Also, English scouts are coming across looking and these players suddenly become assets for clubs. You can see it in the league every year now there are three or four players who become hot property.

” That looks good for the future with the U19 league bedding down.”

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