FAI boss John Delaney says the formation of the new Galway FC can transform the fortunes of soccer in the west of Ireland.
Delaney revealed President Michael D Higgins personally asked for his help in sorting out the impasse in Galway soccer, but said he was never in doubt the club would come to fruition.
“It is a big day, it’s been a long time in coming,” said Delaney at the launch of the new club last night. “We in the association have obviously been involved with a lot of work over last 18 months, and I’m delighted, absolutely thrilled, that tonight we’re launching the new club and that there’s one senior football team in Galway.
“It’s a very important night not only for Galway but for Airtricity League football. I think it was important to accept the O’Connor report and meet the stakeholders, but at no stage did I think it wouldn’t happen.”
The FAI chief executive said he played a big part in securing a three-year sponsorship deal with the Comer Group for the club.
“We were able to secure a sponsor for it. We were able to get the FAI board to pass it and get the Connacht FA on board. That was a very important piece in the whole process.
“But I think the most important contribution from me would have been working with the Comers to get the sponsorship. I went to England on a number of occasions. I went to the Comers on my own, met the Comers here in Ireland myself on a number of occasions and brought it to a position where they said that they would sponsor it,” Delaney said.
Delaney also admitted the FAI would prefer to operate with an eight team First Division. Shamrock Rovers are expected to make an application to field a B side in the league next season. Delaney said: “It will be judged on its merits. I’d prefer to see an eight-team division. We will see what Rovers’ application is, but we would like eight.”
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