IFA rebuff plans for North/Sou...


IFA rebuff plans for North/South All-Island League

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The Irish Football Association (IFA) have released a statement appearing to pour cold water on the idea of an All-Island League.

The league had been proposed by businessman Kieran Lucid.

However, the Northern Irish association say they have concerns over what they call "speculative" potential income figures.

They have though reiterated that they still "greatly value" their club links with the FAI.

The IFA have today released a statement from their Chief Executive Patrick Nelson in which they say they are quite happy remaining within their current model.

"Having listened to the proposals from Mr Lucid and his team, we believe the best interests of our member clubs and football in Northern Ireland are better served by remaining with the club-led model established in 2013 via the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL)

"NIFL has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2013 and continues to attract increased sponsorship and funding."

The IFA have also suggested that the potential income from any such league would be nowhere near as high as Lucid and other proponents had been suggesting.

"The present distribution model, unanimously agreed by all clubs, ensures all 12 teams in the Danske Bank Premiership benefit from the prize fund.

"This has created a balanced league which has seen a substantial increase in attendances, awareness and television coverage. The potential income figures quoted in Mr Lucid’s proposals are highly speculative and lack specificity or guarantees.

"UEFA competition places, prize monies and youth solidarity funding are important to our clubs and we do not wish to put these in question."

The Northern Irish football representatives have also been keen to stress their continued commitment to, and relationship with, their counterparts south of the border.

"We greatly value our association and club links with the Football Association of Ireland and are happy to both take part in, and enhance, cross-border cup competitions at all levels.

"We already have the new Unite the Union Champions’ Cup, played for between the champions of the Irish League and League of Ireland, the Presidents’ Cup for Junior sides in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and a proposed new intermediate level competition."

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