Hopes of an All-Ireland soccer league were dealt a fatal blow when the IFA refused to enter talks, the FAI said tonight.
John Delaney, chief executive of the FAI, said his Northern counterpart Howard Wells had effectively ended all prospect of a new cross-border league. Mr Wells, IFA chief executive, wrote to the project’s main commercial driver, Platinum One boss Fintan Drury, last month insisting the IFA had more pressing matters to deal with.
Bohemians, Cork City, Derry City, Drogheda United, Galway United, Shamrock Rovers, St Patrick’s Athletic, Limerick 37, Linfield and Glentoran had all urged talks about a new league.
Mr Delaney said tonight, after a press conference with the Republic’s new national manager Giovanni Trapattoni, that the idea was now finished.
“My role is to work with the IFA as best as we can and for the moment I think the idea of an all-Ireland league finished on the 13th of June when Platinum One received that letter from the IFA.”
The FAI chief said he circulated the letter, which he also received, yesterday to clubs looking for a meeting about plans for an all-Ireland league.
He said he remains supportive, in principle, of the plans and would continue to work closely with the IFA on other projects including the Setanta Cup.
“To be fair to the IFA, if their position is they don’t want to get involved in it at this particular juncture we have to respect that,” he said.
“We can’t tell Scotland what to do, we can’t tell Wales what to do, we certainly won’t be telling Northern Ireland what to do.”