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Treaty United pull out of underage League of Ireland after legal threats in latest Limerick twist

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Limerick FC owner Pat O’Sullivan. Photo: Sportsfile

Limerick FC owner Pat O’Sullivan. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Limerick FC owner Pat O’Sullivan. Photo: Sportsfile

The interim chairman of the proposed new football club in Limerick has said they withdrew their application for membership in the League of Ireland due to legal threats.

Treaty United had been given approval by the FAI to apply for a licence to compete in the national underage leagues and fill the void that was expected to be left by Limerick FC.

But Limerick owner Pat O'Sullivan instigated legal proceedings to tackle the FAI as the Abbotstown body looked set to move on without the club that has endured a turbulent couple of years - with O'Sullivan earning the right to apply for a licence.

He also turned his attention to a project that was initially titled as Limerick United before it emerged that the name had been registered by O'Sullivan a decade ago.

The new Treaty United group included Tommy Barrett, the Limerick FC manager from last year, with ex-Limerick City and Council CEO Conn Murray coming in as interim chairman.

But their plans to take over the baton on Shannonside met trouble early on and it emerged last night - via a tweet from the Limerick FC Twitter account - that Treaty had withdrawn from the application process.

It now appears that Limerick FC are now planning to field teams at underage level this year - rather than putting their energies into the senior side - to further confuse the First Division picture.

Murray explained the reasons for pulling back to the Limerick Leader.

"Persistent threats of legal action have been placed upon us for a number of weeks now and we therefore stepped out of the application process," he said.

"Treaty United advised the FAI earlier this week that we were stepping back until such time as decisions were made around the Limerick FC application for a licence for senior football and also for permission to operate an Academy.

"We did so because of the level of threat that we found ourselves under from a legal perspective. The absence of a decision has frustrated a lot of clubs, leagues, young people and parents.

"We got into this game for the sake of developing an appropriate and proper, sustainable Academy. We don't believe it is fair now in terms of those young people that have committed themselves to us and we apologise profusely over what has happened over the past number of weeks which has been totally and utterly outside our control.

"This is extremely disappointing to the people who have come together as a group in good faith, to the coaches who have given of their time, to the parents and the leagues and the young people who put themselves through trials.

Murray told the local paper that starting their own legal battle was a road they had no interest in going down.

He made no direct reference to O'Sullivan who was unhappy with the number of Limerick FC players that had lined up to join the Treaty team.

"At the very start we never wanted to create disputes," said O'Sullivan.

"We only entered into this on the basis that it was freely available to apply and we did so on the basis that we wanted to sustain League of Ireland soccer.

"Now a court case did occur, people were allowed to re-apply and we respect that. Under threat of legal action, we stepped back and allowed that to happen.

"We are not in the business of splitting and fighting down in Limerick.

"This should be done for the proper reasons and for the benefit of soccer and we believe at this time if that is the decision of the FAI and if that is what Limerick FC wish to do, then they get on and they better do it properly."

"Unfortunately an error was made in the use of a name (Limerick United) that was back 10 years ago was registered, we simply weren't aware of it and that was when the legal challenges started and every step of the way we have been threatened with legal proceedings.

"Certainly that is not the way to operate soccer in Limerick. It is most disappointing to be honest."

Online Editors