League of Ireland clubs get €5k lure to build strategic plan

In a League of Ireland sector beset by short-termism, the FAI are offering clubs up to €5,000 each to formulate a plan charting a five-year strategy.

The €100,000 incentive scheme was the big announcement unveiled at Saturday’s FAI AGM in Clonmel, forming part of discussions between the association and clubs in the aftermath of the Conroy Report.

Since that blueprint saw light for the first time last September, lots of talks have ensued with scant outcomes.

Before clubs agree to some of the proposed measures, including a 10-team league and mid-season split, they want transparency on the amount of revenue received and spent on the league by the FAI.

Barrister Michael Cush was appointed earlier this year by an independent grouping of clubs, the Premier Club Association (PCA), to act as an intermediary and he continues to negotiate with FAI boss John Delaney.

The chief executive recently expressed his frustration at the prolonged path to reform – nine meetings of the clubs have been held – and it’s unclear if, or when, at least some elements will be operational. “I want League of Ireland clubs to take the next step with me on this,” urged Delaney on Saturday.

Clearly, the clubs won’t be rushed into agreement. For the league to move away a current situation whereby some teams are travelling distances to away games in the cars of their players, sustainable action is essential.

“We have 20 independent businesses operating in the League and they all have individual priorities and goals,” said League Director Fran Gavin about grant initiative.

“The consultation process report outlined the need for our clubs to have clear strategies in areas of sport, business, and community.”


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