Monday, May 20, 2013

Combine the League of Ireland with IFA Premiership.....will not work!

            Association crest      and the    Shirt badge/Association crest
     The League of Ireland will not combine with the Northern Ireland League.  At first glance it would see a no brainer to add the marketing power of Belfast and Northern Ireland and expand the league. This would provide badly needed attention and press to both struggling leagues. Each league would benefit from the exposure they would get from having new clubs play in their home stadium.  Each league could now play in a 19 team league and play eachother home and away like the other big leagues in Europe. This league could also compete for respect and attention from the other leagues.
Now I have to deal with reality.........

Champions League

            Well I am here to tell you that it will not happen. The main reason is money. Presently each league gives about 100,000E to the champion. However Each League  gets to send their Champion to the EURO Champions League. The Champions League gives about 200,000 to each winner and about 130,000 for each round the play in. So Each League champion gets 330,000 at a minimum in the Champions League. Advanving out of the 3rd round get the winner in the lucrative group stage games while the loser is placed in the playoff of the Europa League.

            Most of us would be willing to sacrifice this but the owners of the clubs are not. Presently the top clubs in the LOI are owned by their supporters( Shamrock Rovers, Sligo Rovers, Derry City F.C. , Bohemians F.C. and Cork City F.C.). These supporters are the ones at the games. These supporters are also the ones supporting the budget for most clubs.
        Most League of Ireland Clubs are made up mostly of part time players. The average club havs a working budget of about 500,000 and under. Budgets are very hard to determin since there is not information on the internet. These fugures are my guess.  I know Sligo and Shamrock Rovers are closee to 750,000 however other clubs are well below 500,000 budget. The teams are just not willing to throw away a cash windfall the Champions League provides.

            These clubs are also the clubs that are fighting for the 2 other Europa League spots. This is what keeps the league interesting throughout the year. Let say one club has a runaway year and no other club can catch them. Clubs ranked 2 to 7 are vying to place in the top 3 to qualify for the Europa League spots. It is massively important to keep the other clubs interested in the league play or attendance could drop like a rock. These clubs need something to play for. Clubs like Glentoran, Crusaders, Cork City, Derry City, St Patrick’s Athletic and Shelbourne are usually fighting at the end of the season for these spots. 
   Then there is the FAI Cup and the IFA Cup. The winner of this will also punch a ticket to the Euro League. These cups become quite interesting and usually become the focus of supporters when the league title is out of reach. 

The Europa League
   This also provides a huge potential to get clubs out of debt and help their balance sheet.

Each club figuring in the first and/or second and/or third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League will get €100,000 per round even if they qualify for the UEFA Europa League group stage. In addition, every side eliminated in the UEFA Europa League play-offs will be allocated €100,000.”

            The 2011-12 Europa League paid out 100,000 for each round the club participated in. The League of Ireland only gave out 100,000 for the league title.

Here is my example..
           So let say St. Patrick’s Athletic budget was about 550,000 for the year 2011. The Saints also won 2 rounds in the Europa League 2011-12 so they participated in 3 rounds. The European competition provided 100,000 for each round so the Saints received 300,000 of their yearly budget of 550,000. I know there are expenses involved in traveling to Iceland, Kazakstan and the Ukraine. I am just explaining there is no way on God’s green Ireland that any club or their owners, especially the ones owner by their supporters will want to eliminate a Champions League payout and 3 other spots in the Europa League just for the sake of expansion to Belfast. These European League games are massively important for the clubs budget. That is why the clubs will play so hard even if it not for the top spot in the league. These is great elation from their supporters (especially the ones that own the clubs) to qualify for these international tournamnets.

            I would be more financially prudent to break Ireland into 4 Provinces and get 4 champions League spots and 12 Europa League spots.  I am joking......

The only way i see expansion is if it financially beneficial to the majority of clubs in both the IFA and FAI. Wound attendanc jump up that much to make the move. The Sentanta cup has shown us that attendance is lower than league games.