League Reform Moving Closer

It wasn’t the priority of many grassroots attendees at the Forum for Football hosted by Minister Shane Ross at the mansion House in the summer but reform of the SSE Airtricity League is one element that is both urgent and achievable.

It’s the top of the domestic game pyramid and for many the way in which the future of a successful game here lies.

All twenty of the clubs across the Premier League and First Division met in Tallaght yesterday for a meeting hosted by FAI General manager Noel Mooney intended to advance progress on what the future of the League will look like.

The detail of what emerged will be confirmed at a final meeting to be held in Dublin next month, after taking into account a presentation from the Kieran Lucid group on the potential for an All Ireland League.

That itself has potential but faces the problem of halving the number of places that could be available for clubs in lucrative European competition and until that is resolved it may be too big of a leap.

A number of sources told Sport for Business last night that yesterday’s meeting was a positive one and that there is a strongly favoured path if the decision is made to maintain the boundaries of competition to those currently competing in the League.

We were told of interesting changes to the dynamic of the season which would give a lift but it would be wrong to disclose those when they are still at a discussion stage and when the alternative has yet to be fully presented.

Whatever emerges it will be without the input of Niall Quinn and his group who were to the fore at that forum but have since withdrawn from engagement with the reform process for the League.

SSE Airtricity have backed the league for the last eleven seasons and are also the official energy partners to the FAI and the International teams. They will be interested observers as the path of reform is laid out. They will not be alone.

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