FAI plans to revamp League
MAJOR proposals to revamp the FAI National League will be unveiled at Friday's AGM in Dublin's Green Isle Hotel. The League Structure Sub-Committee wants to abolish the three-round system in favour of a two-phase championship.It also proposes a new competition for the four European qualifiers but has opted not to recommend summer soccer. The recommendations are the result of a six-month study carried out by the nine-member committee which was chaired by Marketing Manager of AIB Bank, David Hammond.
The Committee suggests that at the end of next season the 12th placed team in the Premier Division will be relegated and the top two in the First will be automatically promoted.
A mini-league play-off would then take place between the 10th and 11th placed teams in the Premier Division and the third and fourth placed teams from the First Division to form a 14-team Premier Division for the following season.
Phase One of the 1999/2000 season would then see the 14 Premier Division teams playing each other once with a special ``co-efficient'' in place to ensure that weaker sides are not drawn away to the top clubs.
The eight First Division clubs would play each other on a home and away basis during this phase.
In Phase Two, the top ten Premier Division teams would play for the title on a home and away basis but would keep the points from Phase One.
The bottom four clubs from Phase One would join the eight First Division clubs to play for the First Division League title on a home and away basis. At the end of the season, the top four First Division teams would be promoted to Premier Division.
The Committee also recommends a new FAI Super Cup to be played during the summer by the clubs involved in European competition. But it says that the season should continue to be played from August to May with a free week before Christmas although the Super Cup will be used to gauge the public's response to summer soccer. The Committee also proposes the scrapping of the First Division Shield, and an increased prize fund for the League Cup.
The Committee also wants excellence off the field and has made suggestions under 15 headings which range from sponsorship and marketing to pitches and referees.
The committee also included John Creedon (RTE), Bill Attley (Chief Referees Inspector), Donal Crowther (Bohs), Phil Mooney (St Pat's), Derek Wilkinson (Finn Harps), John Byrne (Galway), Michael Cody (Cobh) and John O'Brien (Bray).