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Worry for LOI over Friday PL fixtures

AIRTRICITY League players are "concerned" about the impact on the game here by plans to play - and broadcast live - Premier League games in England on Friday nights.

The vast majority of League of Ireland matches are played on Fridays but from the 2016/17 on, the domestic league could be going head to head with the top flight in England. The Premier League have issued a tender for TV rights for a new three-year deal from 2016 on which will see live broadcast of 14 games more than are currently being shown, with 10 of those games boxed off for Friday night football.

And that could have a serious impact on attendances and media coverage of the LOI. "We would have our concerns about the effect this could have on the league and on our members," said Stephen McGuinness (pictured), general secretary of the PFAI (players' union).

"If the FAI can go to the Premier League and point out the impact this would have on gates, maybe the Premier League could come back with some form of compensation package which would help improve facilities at grounds here.

"But if there was no package on offer, it could have a big impact here. Gate receipts are vitally important to clubs here and competition with English Premier League matches could have a real effect on attendances."

Fran Gavin, Airtricity League Director, did not respond to a request for a comment on behalf of the FAI.