Monday 16 September 2019

'It can't survive owned by the FAI' - Niall Quinn calls for the League of Ireland to break away from Abbottstown

Niall Quinn
Niall Quinn Newsdesk Newsdesk

Former Republic of Ireland international Niall Quinn believes the League of Ireland must breakaway from the FAI and he would be willing to work for a newly formed organisation.

The former Sunderland chairman believes that clubs here must take charge of their own destinies in order to give players a realistic chance of plying their trade here and being involved in the international setup.

Quinn is supportive of the succession plan that has been put in place that will see Stephen Kenny replace Mick McCarthy in 2020, even though he thought putting a date on it was 'strange', and is happy that there will be more of a connection between underage structures and the senior roles.

But he feels this must be built upon a strong League of Ireland.

"The foundation of that needs a solid, academy-backed, league-driven policy and professional organisation in this country which is sadly neglected," he told Virgin Media Sport.

"We have got to give the League of Ireland its due respect and have our players here have an ambition to have a pathway through League of Ireland to get into the Irish set-up and not to run away on the boat and have a career over and done with before you've even grown into a man."

To achieve this, Quinn thinks the league must exist separate to the national governing body.

"We need better pathways at all levels of the game and to do that we need serious investment," he added.

"I'm not blaming the FAI for not attracting that investment, what I'm saying is our thinking has to be more like...Up at the top level there looks to be a succession plan in place, down at the bottom of the game we have to work out what are the best routes to try and bring investment to the game.

"The league has to do what every other league in the world does, stands up for itself, promotes itself, markets itself, brings in money from all over the world if it can, put an office in Dublin with people who are owners of the league, make the league bigger and better. It can't survive owned by the FAI or even half-owned by the FAI.

"They shouldn't have anything to do with it in my opinion."

Would he be tempted to work in it?

"For the League yes, but not for the FAI, too much politics there for me."

Brian Kerr was asked whether he would work for a newly-formed league, he said: "I'd consider any role in football in this country if I was offered one but I haven't been since 2005."

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