St. Patrick’s Athletic have become the latest club to reject the FAI’s “Strategic Planning” funding.
Irish football’s governing body announced last week that a total of €100,000 would divided between the 20 League of Ireland clubs, amounting to €5,000 per club.
Many League of Ireland fans saw this as an insult and yet another example of the poor attitude the FAI has towards the domestic game – particularly given the windfall the association will receive from UEFA following the national side’s Euro 2016 campaign.
It seems that some of the League of Ireland clubs themselves are not best best pleased either.
Following the news yesterday that Premier Division side Derry City were rejecting the money, calling it “disgraceful and disrespectful,” St. Patrick’s Athletic have followed suit and issued a very strong statement in rejection of the FAI funding.
Published on their website on Friday evening, the statement accuses the FAI of failing in their mandate to maintain the professional domestic game, and wants its rejection of the money to send a clear message.
The statement in full can be read below:
“The board of St Patrick’s Athletic FC has decided that it will not accept the offer of 5,000 euro made by the FAI towards the expenses of each club in preparing a 5 year plan.
“The board’s decision followed a report by its General Manager on the meeting with the FAI at which this proposal was made by the Association and the board’s decision acknowledges the lead given by the board of Derry City FC, a fellow member of the Premier Clubs Alliance (PCA), on the issue.
“The board of SPAFC wants its decision to serve as a clear message to the FAI that it has utterly failed in its responsibility to the domestic game and to those clubs who, in spite of its indifference, have managed to keep some semblance of professionalism within football in Ireland.”
“The board is of the view that the Association’s move and its timing was deliberately aimed at encouraging non Premier League clubs to stand with the current administrators of our league as the PCA set about its agenda of change. That it would do so in a week when Cork City FC and particularly Dundalk FC performed on the European stage at a level and with a verve that belies the manner in which they and the other clubs have been treated, is particularly disappointing.
“The board of SPAFC is committed to the establishment of a strong PCA which must be focused on rooting out the culture of disinterest that has prevailed throughout the FAI’s management of our League for too many years. Offering the proverbial “crumbs from the rich man’s table” will not shift the resolve of those clubs and those individuals determined to create a properly funded and professionally managed league in Ireland.”
It remains to be seen whether or not other League of Ireland clubs follow the example of Derry or St. Pat’s. While they would all probably like to reject it out of sheer principle, the sad reality is that some of those clubs could do with the money and might not be in a position to turn it down.
However, it would not be a surprise, in fact it would be expected, to see the bigger Premier Division clubs react in a similar manner to that of the aforementioned clubs.