Cabinteely director of football Pat Devlin says it’s an embarrassment ahead of today’s League of Ireland launch that the First Division doesn’t know where it stands.
With club licences not due to be announced until tomorrow, it’s yet to be confirmed if there will be nine, 10, or 11 teams in the second tier.
Strong objections to the inclusion of Shamrock Rovers B still linger, as do issues with troubled Limerick FC being allowed to apply for a licence.
Rovers chairman Jonathan Roche said on Monday that he can’t understand the “noise” from other clubs in opposition to a Hoops second team in the First Division.
The First Division Alliance group argue that it demeans the division, with threats of boycotting Rovers games or even the nuclear option of a mass withdrawal from the league having been discussed.
“This is not good enough, it’s not acceptable,” said Devlin, as Cabinteely yesterday announced a new three-year sponsorship deal with EDUFIT, a company that provides training and compliance apps for coaches in the sports sector.
It’s not one individual’s fault, but collectively it’s an embarrassment we have a launch and some clubs may not even have a licence. It’s not good for anybody.
“We’re attracting sponsors and they’re reading all this and you’re out trying to get more sponsors, you’re trying to attract people, you’re trying to put your fixtures out and you can’t do it.
“It’s like a circus and it has been for how many years, and it needs to be corrected.”
While Cabinteely chairman Larry Bass is one of the main objectors to the Rovers move, Devlin says he admires the principle of what Rovers are trying to do and feels there is merit in a ‘B’ or reserve league being reestablished.
“I really admire what Shamrock Rovers are doing, make no mistake about that. And I admire what Larry Bass is doing, so in between that, I think there has to be a solution.
“Everyone should be listened to in the league, it’s not about one club or nine clubs. No one should have an advantage over any other club, absolutely not.
“And I think that’s what people are moaning about. It’s not about Shamrock Rovers, to be fair. It’s the rules and regulations around it and the way it happened.”
Rovers maintain that their focus is player development as there is no league for players who are overage for the U19s and are yet to break into their club’s first team.
Devlin, at 66 the oldest manager in the league, accepts that frustration and offers a solution.
“The simple answer, and I have said this for many years, is, particularly in Dublin, to go back to a Metropolitan, ‘B’, reserve league.
“If you had a reserve league, players coming back from injury, players who are in the U19 league and can step up, learn from these players.
“A lot of the U19 players are in limbo so Shamrock Rovers want to facilitate them and I don’t blame them.
“At this moment in time there is a black hole. And that black hole is not having a reserve league.”