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Shane Ross: My Guess Is If The FAI Goes, The League Of Ireland Goes The Same Way

Shane Ross has stated that if the FAI were to collapse, his “guess” would be that the League of Ireland would follow.

The Minister for Sport made the extremely worrying comment on Wednesday morning at an Oireachtas committee meeting on transport, tourism and sport, where discussions were held about the drastic financial situation facing the FAI.

At the hearing, Ross stated that the FAI have asked the government for an €18m bailout during a meeting at Leinster House on Monday night. However, the minister said that it was “absolutely clear” the association would not “get a bailout” from the government.

“When we met with the FAI on Monday night Grant Thornton were there as well. They had done some work on the consequences of examinership,” he said.

“I don’t know how far they’ve gone but I asked them if they’d share it with us and they said that they will share it with us in the next week or so.”

Ross then made the worrying comment about the League of Ireland’s future being tightly wedded to the fortunes of the beleaguered FAI.

“My guess is if the FAI goes, the League of Ireland goes the same way. I think that’s absolutely inevitable.”

“But it’s something that we would have on the agenda for our meeting with UEFA as well because it would have implications for them too. We are obviously going to do some serious analysis of the consequences of examinership and liquidation, but that is what we want to avoid.”

The minister said that the future of the League of Ireland would be discussed with UEFA during a scheduled meeting between the government and European football’s governing body in January.

He also stated that he is due to meet the IRFU on Thursday to discuss the future of the Aviva Stadium. The FAI have a debt of €29m on the stadium. It was also revealed at the hearing that the organisation have liabilities totalling €62m.

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