UEFA plan could boost options for Irish clubs
Published 17/09/2015 | 02:30
UEFA are considering the establishment of a third club competition, a development which could open up the possibility of extra European football for League of Ireland sides.
The concept of a tournament that would benefit teams that tend to exit in the Champions League or Europa League qualifiers was discussed at a summit in Malta yesterday.
Debate has centred around whether such an initiative should be centred towards participants from smaller nations as opposed to contestants from the big leagues who have missed out on Europe through the regular routes. Any proposed changes cannot be implemented until 2018.
"It will give more opportunity to the clubs who never get in the final stages to participate," said Volodymyr Geninson of the Ukrainian FA.
"For them, it will give opportunities not to finish in August. It will give them an opportunity to play in September and October."
Scottish FA chief Stewart Regan said: "It's a discussion around whether it's a separate third competition exclusively for smaller countries who then relinquish their place in the Europa League and/or Champions League or whether it's a competition that basically acts as a further safety net for those clubs that enter the Champions League or Europa League but are typically out by August."
Meanwhile, Derry City chairman Philip O'Doherty says that the manner in which the team 'surrendered' in a vital relegation six-pointer with Drogheda United last Friday night spelled the end for Peter Hutton.
The Candystripes made the decision to change manager after that result left them just two points clear of bottom spot with six games to go.
"We gave Peter a year and a half and the results speak for themselves," said O'Doherty, in an interview with BBC Radio Foyle.
"The final straw for me was the Drogheda game; we basically surrendered. It was probably the most important game of the season."
To compound Derry's woes, they were knocked out of the FAI Cup by Cork City in a replay on Monday and Hutton's assistant Paul Hegarty has taken over as interim manager for the rest of the campaign.