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Huge financial boost for League of Ireland as prize money to increase by €160,000

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The Football Association of Ireland has today announced that prize money for the SSE Airtricity League will increase by €160,000 for next season.

League Director Fran Gavin made the announcement at the official launch of the 2016 campaign at the Aviva Stadium and revealed that the total prize fund will be €475,500 for the coming season.

The new deal represents a 50pc increase on last year’s fund of €315,000.

One of the complaints from a number of SSE Airtricity League clubs was that many had concerns that low level of reward for competing in the league made it difficult financially and today’s deal is expected to ease those concerns.

“I am delighted to announce that we will be increasing the prize fund for the SSE Airtricity League Premier and First Divisions by 50 per cent this season," Gavin said. "The prize money will rise from €315,500 to €475,500 for the League. In addition we have the prize fund for the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup, the EA SPORTS Cup and UEFA Fair Play which means our clubs will be competing for a total prize fund of €596,500.”

The Association has admitted that the increased funding has come in part at least from the recent four-year deal with TrackChamp, allowing League of Ireland supporters to watch live games online while abroad.

Last year former Ireland international Richie Sadlier raised concerns over the arrangement.

“One other point to mention, though, is that in order to be able to see the games you must have an active online betting account,” he wrote in his Sunday Independent column last December.

“Or in other words, you can only watch if you gamble on a regular basis. Those who don't bet or refuse to start betting won't see a minute of the action. It seems the FAI has taken a slightly different approach to the government's handling of potentially addictive and destructive behaviour.”

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