Dundalks exclusion is scandalous
Published 21/12/2006 | 00:11
The exclusion of Dundalk F.C. from the Eircom Premier League is outrageous and scandalous.In my naivety, I was of the opinion that a Clubs position in any League is determined on the pitch - not by a Committee operating a non-transparent and dubious system, more suited to a class of economic theorists.The FAI may argue that the clubs bought into the rules of engagemen
The exclusion of Dundalk F.C. from the Eircom Premier League is outrageous and scandalous.
In my naivety, I was of the opinion that a Club’s position in any League is determined on the pitch - not by a Committee operating a non-transparent and dubious system, more suited to a class of economic theorists.
The FAI may argue that the clubs bought into the rules of engagement to set up the new Premier League. They forget an important and valid point. The rules became invalid once they were changed, without agreement; to bring play-offs into the equation.
It must be remembered that the play-offs were introduced when Dundalk led the First Division by six points. The panic button was pressed when the League found that Shamrock Rovers might not win the League or Galway United finish runners up. The play-offs were introduced as a safety net for the League to ensure the result they required for an elitist League.
Now the FAI declare that the play-offs were of no consequence to the final placings. Why play them if that was the case? Why order Dundalk players to play in an unplayable pitch, in monsoon conditions, in Ballybofey in order to finalise the play-off positions? Why put the club and their loyal supporters to the expense of another home match in Oriel Park and travel to Waterford for the second leg? Why relegate the losers in the play-off and not promote the winners?
Good luck to Shamrock Rovers for winning the League. It is galling though, to accept that Galway United who finished third in the League, who lost three times to Dundalk and drew the other are promoted over Dundalk. Little wonder that Dundalk supporters are angry and demand answers.
The criteria that were given to the Independent Assessment Group (I.A.G.) was structured too narrowly and loaded against Dundalk.
To have the starting point a mere four years ago was farcical. Was the League suffering from collective amnesia? The league started in 1921 and Dundalk have been continuous members since 1926. If this criteria has to be used then Clubs should have been appraised from the beginning of their membership.
Dundalk’s playing record is as follows:- 9 League titles, 9 FAI Cups, 4 League Cups, 2 Shields, 1st Division title, not to mention their European records. In contrast, Galway Utd’s record is one League runners-up, one League Cup and one FAI Cup. Even a member of the IAG made the comment that the sporting criteria was too narrow.
In the interest of fair play, a new structured League would have been a 21 Club League for one season. At the end of the season, seven clubs would be demoted to the First Division and three new Clubs, brought in from outside Dublin, to join a ten-Club League. Any team in the Premier would of course have to possess a UEFA Premier League licence.
A careful examination of Clubs who are in the Premier League over Dundalk from the IAG criteria throws some amazing anomalies that require explanation.
For example, Shamrock Rovers: have had no home ground since 1987 and lost their licence in 2005. Shelbourne: almost wound up the Revenue three times and unable to pay players’ wages. UCD: have attendances that would embarrass a Sunday morning card school.
Now that the FAI have decided that a League should include “off the field activities’, by a Committee, why stop now?
In future, even if a team wins the Premier, they should be assessed on their “off the field activities” before they are declared Champions. In addition, all other teams to be assessed to determine the real “Champions.”
Here are my suggestions for “off the field activities” which the FAI are free to adopt with my permission.
1. Striker has an illicit affair with goalkeeper’s wife: 100 marks.
2. Club’s hamburgers are found to have 95% beef content: 100 marks.
3. Chairman’s wife voted best dressed lady at annual awards: 100 marks.
4. Club has best stocked drinks cabinet in any Board room: 100 marks.
5. Club secretary wins local lovely legs competition: 100 marks.
In conclusion, it is shameful that the League’s second most successful club were dumped unceremoniously to the wilderness of the First Division. It is grossly insulting to the Board, Management, Players and Supporters.
As Dundalk supporters carve up their turkeys on Christmas Day, a thought will probably cross their minds: Dundalk, their beloved Club, that has given so much to the League, was carved up on a plate of illogicality, injustice and blatant bias.