Monday 19 November 2018

New League of Ireland company to be set up by 2020

League of Ireland chief Fran Gavin
League of Ireland chief Fran Gavin
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

League of Ireland chief Fran Gavin has confirmed that consultants from Deloitte are working on the structure of a new company that will run the league from 2020 as a partnership between the clubs and the FAI.

Abbotstown chiefs will be handing over control of affairs to a freshly-created entity. The move is in line with 2013 changes north of the border which led to the establishment of the Northern Irish Football League (NIFL).

Major details have to be thrashed out - most notably whether staff from the FAI will transfer over or if new staff will be hired for administrative roles.

It has stemmed from talks between the FAI and the Premier Clubs Alliance (PCA) which arose from the clubs' desire for more information and a greater say with regard to sponsorship and TV deals and finances.

"It would be a new company, a new entity and how the shares are in that company and the ownership of the company - that's all being worked on at the moment," said Gavin yesterday.

"I think the clubs are up for it. They are well capable of doing it now. Discussions have been ongoing with the PCA and First Division clubs as well.

"We are looking at the model of a hybrid system where it's a partnership between both groups. Deloitte are doing work around how the structure of the company would be. That has gone to the clubs.

Transition

"As discussions are going, the target date is the 2020 season. There is obviously going to be a transition from the current set-up to the new set-up and we have to discuss how all that takes place.

"The Association is not interested in getting rid of the league. We want to be there to make sure it is solid. The league has become fairly attractive to investors. They have ideas. Some of them have worked in the professional game for a long, long time. They can bring their experience into it that maybe we haven't had in the past."

On Monday, Galway members will decide if they welcome a Saudi takeover and Gavin says the FAI have been briefed on the plans - although they have yet to meet the prospective buyers.

Dundalk and Cork's dominance fuelled by European prizemoney has raised concerns that other clubs will overstretch in an attempt to catch up.

This year's four Euro participants - Shamrock Rovers and Derry are the others - are the same sides that competed last year and collected huge funds from UEFA that dwarf domestic rewards.

Gavin says that the creation of a play-off for a Europa League place - which would give more clubs a chance of qualification - has been raised with clubs but met with a 'lukewarm' response.

"I like the idea, it is something we will be encouraging and I think the clubs might eventually come around to it," he said.

Irish Independent

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