Monday 11 November 2019

All-Island league backers not giving up hope of Irish football revamp despite IFA stance

All-Island League group logo
All-Island League group logo

Aidan Fitzmaurice

The backers of a proposed all-island league say they have not given up on their plans to revamp senior club football in Ireland despite an instruction from the Irish Football Association (IFA) to Irish League clubs not to engage with the process.

And The All-Island League Advocacy Group, headed by tech entrepreneur Kieran Lucid, says that more input from Dutch sports consultancy Hypercube can ease fears north of the border about the impact that an all-Ireland league would have on their game.

A week after that strongly-worded statement from the IFA, Lucid's group have reached out, saying they were willing to "broaden the possible formats under consideration beyond what had been presented to the FAs and other stakeholders".

That acknowledged concerns over loss of European places as well as the IFA's fears over possible damage to the Irish League.

"Hypercube’s plan is to initiate a multi-stakeholder data & opinion gathering process over the coming months, which includes stakeholder forums with the FAs, clubs, players, coaches, fans, media and the governments, to garner all views in order to come up with a structure that works for all," the Lucid group said in a statement issued on Monday night,

"The Danish Superliga structure that has been an influence on our group due to its impressive attendances and TV deals in excess of €50 million per year, despite having 1 million less people than the island of Ireland, was facilitated by Hypercube and the final format resulted from a proposal from their fan stakeholder group.

"Our financial projections are based on sincere and promising discussions with broadcasters, sponsors and other stakeholders, but of course nothing is certain until a format is agreed and a deal is signed subject to FA approvals, removing the need for a leap of faith on the part of the clubs or FAs."

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