Monday 22 January 2018

Brand aid hits wrong note

FAI admit special report into state of League of Ireland may lead to nothing

International branding expert Jonathan Gabay speaking at the SSE Airtricity League Brand Review at Aviva Stadium yesterday. Photo: Sportsfile
International branding expert Jonathan Gabay speaking at the SSE Airtricity League Brand Review at Aviva Stadium yesterday. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

League of Ireland clubs have been told to paint bus stops in their colours, arrange Bank Holiday friendlies with teams from America and introduce a Hollywood-style walk of fame at their grounds as part of an international brand report into the state of the domestic game.

The FAI commissioned an expert in the field, Jonathan Gabay, to put forward recommendations after a 12-week project where he examined the state of the local game and conducted a series of interviews.

But his presentation at the Aviva Stadium drew ridicule because of far-fetched and left-field suggestions that raised eyebrows.

Gabay did highlight well-documented issues with facilities and promotion and claimed that anti-social behaviour from fans was a big problem, grouping the use of flares and chants critical of the FAI under this heading.

He also put forward a possible new logo and suggested a name change from SSE Airtricity League to the 'League of Ireland sponsored by SSE Airtricity'.

Airtricity League director Fran Gavin said afterwards that he was not at liberty to disclose how much the FAI had paid for the report.

He confirmed that the board will meet on Tuesday to discuss the league's structure. But he conceded that he did not know if any of Gabay's proposals will be used in plotting the way forward.

"From our point of view, there's nothing agreed or anything like that," he said. "We'll bring it internally, have a look at it, see what we think."

Irish Independent

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