Cooler Heads of Morning Needed

We live in a democracy and the theory behind that is the fact of majority decision making. Such thoughts should be to the fore in the SSE Airtricity League today as clubs consider yesterday’s vote to restart the League campaign on July 31st and to maintain the same promotion and relegation issues as before albeit in a shortened programme.

The vote for that option, as favoured by the First Division clubs and supported by Shamrock Rovers was decided on the basis of what was described as a ‘narrow majority’ suggesting it was likely to have been 10-9.

The other alternative given serious consideration was a simple one up, one down which would have made for a more comfortable campaign for more of the top flight clubs.

In times of exceptional challenge it is never going to be easy to make the absolute right call but making a call of some sort is what leadership is all about.

The English Premier League clubs wrestled with ideas of neutral venues ahead of their return, and the natural self interest of clubs looking to retain their theoretical home advantage ended up being adhered to.

That was down to changing public health guidelines as opposed to bowing down to the force of threatened non participation and the right call was made.

That is what has to happen here now with the domestic game as well.

There will be challenges in terms of fixture scheduling and the attempt to optimise what revenue might be gained from broadcast and streaming rights.

There is a window in August when the rest of European Football will be in their shortened close season, where a League that showed such promise in the early rounds can reach out to a potentially wider audience.

Delays caused by any threat on non participation or legal challenge would be counter productive in every way and clubs will need to look beyond the potential self interest of maintaining their place in the top flight, and fight for that right on the pitch as opposed to the pulpit of a courtroom or the media.

Green Party leader Eamonn Ryan spoke at the weekend of the benefit of a high bar in terms of making a decision and the need for his members to deliver a two thirds majority. It gives certainty that the majority wish is sufficiently broad to be fully accepted.

It would be nice to have that here as well but it is not the case and so it is on a simple majority that the decision has been made.

It will make for an exciting season over the remaining rounds left in an 18 game campaign. There will be more at stake in more games and that is what great sport is all about.

Players want to play, fans want to watch. It has to be hoped that attendance will be possible in increasing numbers as the season progresses.

Representatives of Sligo Rovers suggested that this “was not over yet.” You have to hope that those words were spoken in natural frustration but that the cooler thoughts of morning will prevail.

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