Tuesday 20 August 2019

'I don't see any other ideas that are going to make it better' - Kerr adamant All-Ireland league is best hope

Brian Kerr. Photo: Sportsfile
Brian Kerr. Photo: Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Former international manager Brian Kerr has conceded that the prospect of an all-Ireland league being unveiled as early as 2021 is now unlikely.

But he is adamant that the planned project must be green-lighted sooner or later in order to stem the slow decline of the club game north and south of the border.

"What are we going to do otherwise? Are we going to let the leagues run along the way they are and just hope that they get better in their own right?

"There is nothing that has happened over the last 20 or 30 years that has had a major impact on the league or made it better.

"Fiddling around with the fixture list, or whether we play three times or four times, or whether relegation is two or three teams, none of it has had an impact. I would say it's a similar situation in the north.

"The truth of it is, we are falling behind other middle-ranking or lower-ranking leagues in Europe.

"I don't see any other ideas coming up that are going to make the leagues better. There is little investment, little confidence from sponsors, little interest by politicians and government, while neither of the associations have any money to invest in the league.

"But when Kieran Lucid has presented his project, almost everyone has been impressed by the idea. I believe it would be the right thing for the game here.

"Kieran has invested a huge amount of time, thought and money in employing people to get this project moving."

Project

Lucid, the Kerry-born 35-year-old tech entrepreneur, had ambitions to kick-start the project by 2021 but the ongoing FAI turmoil and uncertainty around European places have stymied that timetable.

"Kieran wants it by the 2021/22 season," says Kerr. "Now that may be overly optimistic. I don't think the timeline is set in stone but there are a lot of hurdles to overcome.

"The clubs in general would like it I think. The associations wouldn't want to relinquish the power they have and the control they have. Pinning down the investment is the biggest hurdle we face.

"But if the will is there with the clubs, and the associations are for it, then it will be over to UEFA in relation to European places. The situation is negotiable, given they are introducing a third-level competition in Europe."

Irish Independent

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