Saturday 1 October 2016

Dundalk chairman supports Shamrock Rovers' stance and calls for TV compensation from FAI

Published 11/09/2015 | 21:44

A general view of a television camera at Tallaght Stadium. Picture credit; Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
A general view of a television camera at Tallaght Stadium. Picture credit; Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Ciaran Bond, the chairman of League of Ireland champions Dundalk, has called on the FAI to pay clubs for live TV matches as a compensation for a loss in ticket revenue.

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Bond understands why rivals Shamrock Rovers have taken the decision to write to RTE and ask them not to show any of their remaining home games this season.  Rovers argue that the live matches are hitting attendances, especially when they lead to earlier kick-off times.

The Dundalk supremo recognises that TV games have a promotional value when it comes to marquee matches, but believes that showing lower profile encounters is causing issues.

On a night where heavy rain poured down at Oriel Park, a crowd of 1,726 turned up for their FAI Cup quarter final win over Sligo Rovers tonight - a drop of 700 from the non-televised league encounter last Saturday. Bond has noted other examples from recent seasons.

“We understand the value and promotional aspect of TV but, by the same token, there’s also a financial cost in terms of lost revenue and I think we have to strike an equilibrium,” said Bond last night.

“There’s an onus on the association to compensate the clubs in terms of TV rights, in terms of the monies that they get from our national broadcaster - which could be passed onto every club. It happens around Europe.

“There’s no doubt TV is affecting the audience and has a detrimental effect on club’s finances so it’s well overdue that the association looks to compensate clubs.

“While we accept totally that there has been a few games where the gates haven’t been affected - most notably our game in Cork and obviously Shamrock Rovers when they came to Oriel last week - by the same taken we’ve noticed that with matches of lesser importance it has dramatically affected the gate. And the kickoff times are a problem - I can understand Shamrock Rovers having an issue there because, in Dublin, 7.05 is a very difficult time for people.”

Earlier this week, an FAI statement to the Irish Independent said that the league’s TV deal, which was announced in August 2014, was part of an overall agreement which includes the international teams. “This will continue to deliver tangible and intangible benefits to the league,” said a spokesman.

But Bond says that clubs want further clarity on the FAI’s rights and sponsorship deals related to the SSE Airtricity League, citing the low level of prizemoney (€100,000 to the champions) and the cost of affiliation fees. “There’s a review ongoing and I’d like to think this will be a part of it,” he said.

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