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FAI reject League of Ireland request

THE FAI has rejected proposals from League of Ireland clubs to scrap the 10-team Premier Division and either introduce one division for all sides or establish a new top flight for 16 teams.

The current format of a 10-team Premier Division and 12-team First Division is deeply unpopular and the recently completed wide-ranging League of Ireland Review, seen by the Irish Independent, reveals that 72pc of managers, players and club officials believe the existing system is flawed..

However, the FAI argue that any change was impossible at the conclusion of last season where clubs had competed in promotion and relegation battles and played for their 2010 places on football merit. If a change in structure was imminent, it would have to be outlined at the beginning of the preceding campaign.

Numerous figures in the game have spoken out against the 10-team top flight, arguing there is too much repetition while clubs in the First Division feel isolated.

Drogheda United called for the league to cease sponsorship with national newspapers, betting chains and radio stations other than RTE. A number of clubs feel their income has been hit by the umbrella sponsorship of the league by Boylesports, 'The Star' and Newstalk.

The terms of their respective arrangements with the FAI mean that rival operations are prevented from offering certain kinds of sponsorship, thus closing a potential revenue stream.

While the FAI will discuss the club's concerns, they counter that prize money from the league has increased. Going forward, consideration will be given to distributing prize money in a more equal fashion amongst all clubs. At present, the league champions receive

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