Monday 16 September 2019

League of Ireland clubs set for showdown talks with FAI as frustrations grow

FAI President Donal Conway. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
FAI President Donal Conway. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

John Fallon

FRANK discussions are set to dominate a meeting between the FAI and a sub-group of the Premier Clubs Alliance (PCA) today as League of Ireland clubs grow frustrated at the association's ongoing controversies.

Representatives from the 10 top-flight clubs yesterday met at a Dublin hotel, where the latest revelations about a €300,000 payment to the creator of a sponsored walk were among the items discussed.

Although the clubs supported the re-election of President Donal Conway at last month's AGM, fresh concerns on his continuance at the top table were raised in the wake of details emerging on governance issues during the reign of former chief executive John Delaney.

Conway has so far defied a demand by Sports Minister Shane Ross to quit.

Fearful of potential additional exposés damaging the game's reputation, including the club themselves, the PCA will be demanding straight answers and immediate action.

Ascertaining specifics on the breakdown of commercial income generated by the association for the League has proven a long-time bugbear.

The idea of clubs boycotting the annual registration fee of €19,000 which the FAI charge was floated. Comparisons were given with the equivalent levy placed on clubs by others associations around Europe.

Meanwhile, reservations remain about the buy-in by clubs for a new All-Island league.

Businessman Kieran Lucid presented his proposals for a cross-border entity to the 20 clubs last month, after which a working group of members was established to assess the concept.

They will report their findings back to a meeting of all clubs on September 10, the same day of the friendly international between Ireland and Bulgaria.

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