Massive boost for league as Airtricity extend deal
AIRTRICITY look set to continue their sponsorship of the League of Ireland. The energy company is believed to have agreed a new deal with the FAI and are expected to announce the details next week.
Confirmation of the renewal will come as a significant boost to the association, who have avoided the daunting prospect of having to recruit a new sponsor in the current economic client.
Airtricity became title sponsors of the league in 2010, signing a three-year deal believed to be worth in the region of €750,000 per year. It looks as though they have now agreed to a one-year extension.
There had been concerns that they would not renew the deal after the league was again dogged by financial chaos this season, with Monaghan United's mid-season withdrawal undermining the credibility of an already struggling brand.
Despite Airticity's commitment, prize money has been cut over the last number of seasons and a number of clubs have reverted to part-time and amateur set-ups in a bid to survive.
Sligo Rovers can win the title today at home to St Patrick's Athletic, but the make-up of next year's First Division remains a major source of concern after only eight clubs took part in it this season.
Bhoys' mass exodus
Neil Lennon revealed Celtic have lost 35 players to international duty this week. The club's Lennoxtown training complex has been like a ghost town as nearly the entire first-team squad and many of the Academy players have departed to represent their countries in matches all over the globe. The Hoops boss has never witnessed such a mass call-up of players for national service. "I think we have 35 involved throughout the club which is quite a remarkable stat really," said Lennon.