All-Island League Advocacy Group

01 Feb 2020 @ 00:00

All-Island Advocacy Group

Stakeholder: Supporters Wednesday 29th January 2020



AIL Advocacy Group: Kieran Lucid, Brendan Dillon (Former chair of Eircom League), Catherine Toolan, Stafford Reynolds (former Glentoran Chairperson), Alex Horne (Former CEO of FA),

Kieran Lucid contrasted Irish Football (6 million combined population) with Scottish league (5.5 million)  outside of the ‘Old Firm’ and suggested that with Irish Fotball could find the same financial security and football success.

He gave numbers of 121,000 football followers travelling to Britain from Ireland each year.  The highest country to provide support outside of UK.

He suggested an All-Island League could provide Higher income, Higher fan engagement, retention of better players.  Ireland was not receiving it’s fair share of European Football income.

The AIL could hold onto brighter stars for longer, leave later in career and return earlier to Ireland football.

Competitions: Both senior cups (IFA Cup, FAI Senior Cup) would be retained with the FAI and IFA/NIFL.

An AIL would be created from the domestic Leagues NIFL and LoI. Both League Cups would be created as one.  3 UEFA place IRL and 3 UEFA places NIR would be allocated from the new AIL League.

14 club Premiership top division

2 x 10 club Regionalised League. North and South with a line through the middle of the island.  Flexible each season as different geographically placed clubs filled the places.

NIFL: 12 Premiership and 2 Championship; LOI: 10 Premier Division, 10 First Division

(Hypercube used an ECI ranking based on domestic and UEFA club results).

AIL Premiership clubs would hold 4 shares.  First Division 1 shares.

Peter of Hypercube (Netherlands data gatherers; data analysts)

Peter’s career included convincing Dutch League to change their league at the end of the regular season to compete for lesser UEFA places.  So after agreed automatic places for UEFA Club competitions, mini play-off groups were created as 5th -8th place competed for 1 Europa League place and 9th – 12th competed for an Intertoto Cup (later Europa League). Sides considered mid-table were involved in relegation play-offs. So a club lower ranked after the regular season could qualify for UEFA competition and a  club high above automatic relegation is vulnerable to relegation. Peter later described this as the financial option over the “sporting option”.  [Perhaps more accurately is the “off-field option” over the “on-field” option].

Peter was able to convince the clubs that this change in having ‘prizes’ to compete for at the end of   would increase crowds and revenue.  Attendances increased by several million fans over the year.  Allowing Dutch Football improve salaries and facilities.

Denmark: Hypercube were asked to give options to Danish League who at the time had a standard unchanging regular season.  A regular season then split was introduced improving attendances and revenue.  Again some off-field options were chosen ahead of the on-field results.

Through slideshow presentation Peter showed that both leagues in Ireland were below even English League Two in finance and playing talent.  In comparison with Scottish Football he showed a large number of U-22 Irish players were playing in England.  That the two leagues in Ireland were not achieving the financial benefits or playing performance that even their low position deserved.  These missed opportunities and lack of improvement of talent or revenue in Irish Football is a prime motivator for the All-Island Advocacy group.  A website showing clubs' performance

Brendan Dillon spoke as part of his chair of the Eircom League chose to move to Summer Football with the benefits of improved pitches, better preparation for UEFA club competition and the expectation of increased crowds.  But it didn’t materialise because the quality of the players didn’t improve, the playing talent continued to leave.  But with the attraction of the increased revenue streams of the All-Island League there’s a draw to remain for longer.

Peter also reminded the audience that there were different forms of revenue and an Authority overseeing the stadium while the club looked after other sporting concerns is a successful model.

Request for Stakeholders Feedback:

There is a short time of two weeks to reply for feedback.

Hypercube and the All-Island Advocacy Group want stakeholders to respond with what they consider the best season format that includes an AIL.

Start of the season, winter/summer league, Length of season number of clubs, number of games, wholly AIL, initial domestic then AIL, regular, regular plus split etc.

AIL Advocacy gave some examples of models of league structure:

  • A full season of All-Island League (This is the primary choice of the AIL).
  • The current domestic league competitions with a cross-border cup.  (Kieran Lucid felt he would step away if that was the choice as he didn’t see a benefit for the advocacy group).
  • Split domestic then AIL season, or vice-versa.
  • No change. Current situation of two domestic leagues under the National Associations.

In verbal discussions at the meeting last Wednesday Peter mentioned that the NIFL were keen on keeping the traditional December 26th (Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day) derby fixtures which draw significant higher attendances than other times of the year.  A large number of the room in Dublin were sympathetic to that idea.  The room also were heavily in favour of Friday night matches.

Things to do: UCD AFC Supporters Club are asking fans to give feedback either directly to the All-Island League Advocacy group or they can send some of their views to ourselves here.  We can present your views confidentially if you wish or with a general profile mentioned.

The Supporters Club are giving a deadlineof Sunday 09th February to receive our members feedback.   Then we'll forward that content on confidentially. If anybody more clarification from the AIL we can forward that request on too in the meantime.

Keep those thinking caps on.

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