“If you look at the League of Ireland I’d say some clubs can’t afford to pay their players.”
Fitzpatrick’s comments came after it was announced that the GAA would lose their elite status from the Government, meaning they could no longer continue collective training during Level 5 restrictions.
The former Louth senior football manager angered many League of Ireland fans with his comments earlier in the week.
“If you look at the League of Ireland I’d say some clubs can’t afford to pay their players and some of them would be amateur players” Fitzpatrick had commented.
“I don’t accept this claim [that the LOI is elite] one bit, they are only doing it to look good.
“For example look at the Dubs who have coaches, dieticians, doctors and physios, they have absolutely everything an elite team would have.
“Even if you look at soccer or rugby sides – I can tell you that you would get nothing in this country as professional as Dublin.”
However, the Independent TD apologised for his comments, saying people misunderstood what he was trying to say.
“I apologise with my whole heart if people took me up the wrong way,” Fitzpatrick told LMFM on Wednesday morning.
“When you have no gate money coming in, sponsorship is cut and everything else, every sport, whether it’s GAA, soccer or rugby, are under severe pressure.
“All sports are struggling to pay their wages at the moment.
“I’m a big supporter of the League of Ireland. I regularly go to see Dundalk play.
“We’re very lucky in Louth that we have Drogheda and Dundalk.”
Drogheda United chairman Conor Hoey initially described the former Fine Gael TD’s comments as “Trumpian” after reading the interview.
“He said he was quoted out of context and he was clearly backtracking there, but it was good to hear him apologise,” Hoey told the Irish Mirror.
“More importantly it’s good to hear him talk so enthusiastically about the League of Ireland.
“It’s good to hear him talk enthusiastically about Dundalk and Drogheda and the upcoming Louth derby that we’re going to have here.
“What we had an issue with is what we saw quoted in the newspaper which was his comment that said the majority of League of Ireland clubs can’t afford to pay their players.
“There isn’t one professional player in the League of Ireland who has not been paid. The PFAI came out yesterday and said that.”