Thursday 17 August 2017

Wexford on brink as FAI meet on League

Manager Stephen Kenny had a productive weekend as the signings of Jamie McGrath and Niclas Vemmelund were confirmed, along with a deal to keep top scorer David McMillan at Oriel Park. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / Sportsfile
Manager Stephen Kenny had a productive weekend as the signings of Jamie McGrath and Niclas Vemmelund were confirmed, along with a deal to keep top scorer David McMillan at Oriel Park. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The FAI will meet barrister Michael Cush and a three-man delegation from the Premier Clubs Alliance (PCA) today to discuss changes to the structure of the League of Ireland.

And the Abbotstown authorities are facing into another problem, after it emerged that Wexford Youths are dealing with a winding-up order arising from money owed to Mick Wallace's construction company.

His company, M & J Wallace, is in receivership and the liquidator is pursuing debts, which includes €206,884 owed by the club. Wexford are getting ready for a return to the First Division after a solitary top-flight campaign.

Discussions are ongoing in an attempt to resolve the matter and keep the club alive.

The loss of a club from the struggling second tier would present serious issues for the FAI, at a time when the viability of the First Division is a big talking point.

It is to be increased from eight teams to 10 for the 2018 campaign, on foot of the FAI's decision to reduce the Premier Division from 12 to 10.

That continues to be a major bone of contention with several top-flight clubs, although the FAI say that a proposal from the PCA was a factor in the decision taken by the board.

Cush was engaged by the PCA to discuss a range of matters with the FAI and his brief goes way beyond the number of teams in the top flight, with the marketing and finances of the league at the top of the agenda.

Reverse

Some club officials are hoping the FAI will reverse their decision on the new format, which will result in three Premier teams being relegated at the end of this season, with just one coming up and no promotion play-off.

The new format was announced after some clubs had already started assembling squads for 2017 and the fear is that some will over-stretch themselves to make the cut.

However, the PCA do not have a firm stance on the way forward, with differing opinions about the ideal solution.

With only six weeks to go until the start of the season, and most of the teams already in pre-season training, there is a real urgency about tonight's talks.

Meanwhile, champions Dundalk return to training today just over a month after their European adventure ended.

Manager Stephen Kenny had a productive weekend as the signings of Jamie McGrath and Niclas Vemmelund were confirmed, along with a deal to keep top scorer David McMillan at Oriel Park.

McMillan was wanted by Shamrock Rovers and also had other options, but he was keen to stay at Dundalk and protracted negotiations eventually resulted in an agreement.

Danish defender Vemmelund (24) moves to Oriel Park after impressing at Derry City last year, while the creative McGrath (20) heads up the M1 following two seasons of promise at St Patrick's Athletic.

Both players cited the opportunity to be part of a European run as an attraction.

Elsewhere, Sligo Rovers have signed English striker Matt Stevens on a six-month loan from Peterborough.

And Ireland U-21 international goalkeeper Ian Lawlor has left Manchester City to join League Two leaders Doncaster Rovers.

Lawlor, who leaves Eastlands without having made a senior appearance, made his debut for Doncaster in a 3-1 win against Barnet on Saturday.

"I'm delighted to be here, I'm looking forward to progressing and getting involved with the lads," Lawlor told the official club website.

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