Friday 19 July 2019

Quinn and Lucid to go head-to-head in pitching plans for future of League of Ireland

Niall Quinn. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Niall Quinn. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Niall Quinn and Kieran Lucid will be given 30 minutes each on July 13 to make their respective pitches to clubs about the direction of the League of Ireland.

Both consortiums are interested in creating a new model of ownership away from the current model of control by the Football Association of Ireland.

The FAI's interim general manager Noel Mooney gathered the Premier Club Alliance at Abbotstown yesterday for the second time in the week.

They were presented with details of the 'national league strategic planning weekend' for July 13 and 14, a forum to discuss structural options beyond the present arrangement.

It is expected that the ongoing upheaval in the FAI will delay implementation of any new iteration until at least 2021.

Mooney, despite the fact his secondment from UEFA is due to end in November, is thinking long term.

He has set out a list of objectives by 2030 that include the senior international team being populated by graduates of domestically-based academies. Such aspirations rely on investment, a problem for the governing body given their precarious financial position.

Quinn and Lucid, through different formats, have offered to generate the necessary cash through a mixture of private and public funding.

Under the title "future of League of Ireland", the former Ireland striker will be the first speaker to address an audience of league owners and general managers, FAI senior management and respected industry experts.

He will be followed by another half-hour presentation from Lucid, entitled the "All-island league proposal". Both figureheads have talked big in recent months.

Quinn and his group, including US-based businessman Kieran Foley, feel they can facilitate an investment programme of €2million for each club to develop an academy to rival UK clubs. His vision has been welcomed by government officials, including Minister for Sport, Shane Ross.

Lucid, a tech entrepreneur from Co Kerry, had tried to keep his plans of a cross-border venture under wraps until Mooney announced his name at a public event last week. Since then, he's revealed the specifics of a 14-team top flight, operating above two tiers of 10 teams split on geography.

Prize

He is confident that the €1million-per-year prize fund under the concept, fully owned by the clubs, will more than compensate for the potential loss of one or two European qualification berths caused by the merger.

Meanwhile, Shamrock Rovers are expected to add striker Graham Cummins to the pair of UCD recruits they signed yesterday.

Gary O'Neill and U-21 international Neil Farrugia arrived but neither will be available for tomorrow's clash against Dundalk.

A deal to bring Cummins from Cork City should be concluded as early as today, with Joel Coustrain heading the other way on loan. Another fringe player, Sam Bone, could also be on his way to Munster on loan, with Waterford leading the hunt.

In England, Stephen Ward has sealed a one-year loan switch from Burnley to Stoke City. The 33-year-old, who retired from international football in March, had spent the last five seasons with the Clarets.

Irish Independent

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