Niall Quinn believes the future of Irish football might be in Brazil.
In Wednesday’s Herald, the former Republic of Ireland striker suggested trying to attract players from South America to the League of Ireland.
Quinn feels the importation of Samba stars would ultimately help the Ireland national team. It was among a number of suggestions made by the former Ireland striker.
He told the paper that if the players were to stay in the country for five years they would qualify to represent the Boys in Green.
He says: “The guys coming in could play for Ireland if they are not going to play for Brazil, there are 5,000 Brazilian players playing around the world, there is a lot of opportunity there.”
“The only way this league will be really great is if we invite other players from other countries to come in and play. Lift the whole process.
“The Premier League has 30% English players involved in starting across every match and it's the best league in the world.
“We shouldn't think that bringing in a small quota of foreign players is going to make the league bad. It is actually going to make our players better and the league as well.”
Aside from the fanciful suggestion that a dose of samba soccer stars could safeguard the future of Irish football and a stirring sound-bite about the boat to Holyhead, the former Sunderland CEO did manage to make some sensible points when he discussed his vision for the future.
Niall Quinn wants the government to get involved to grow soccer
It’s a straight forward plan, all he wants is €40million, around €2million per club to found and fund and academy plus tax breaks for firms willing to invest in sport:
"There has to be an alternative to young lads taking the boat to Holyhead
"I mean if parents actually knew how small the percentages were of their kids making it about 50-1 - they’d think long and hard about allowing them to leave.
"In my view, the idea of allowing a teenager to leave school, so that he can try to make it at a Championship or League One club, that’s for the birds.
"But if we can put something in place that keeps the best young kids at League of Ireland clubs; whereby they either turn out to be good pros or be guaranteed to get their college fees paid, well that makes sense to me.
"I am not the answer, I don’t want to be the chief executive of the FAI and change the world, but what I want to do is to get the debate going, get people thinking about what other leagues are doing and ask ‘why aren’t we doing it? What the barriers to stop our league fulfilling its potential?’
"The reality is our system is fractured."