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  1. #1
    rerun
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    Licensing...

    As I look down this forum it seems to be the same old story over and over again, "<insert team here> in financial trouble" or "<insert team here> fails to pay players wages". Whether it's Shels, Drogheda, Cork or Derry one thing is for sure, they are killing the game in Ireland.

    Now, I know we all jump in the bandwagon and blame barstoolers for all the ills of the "domestic" game, but I think we have to point the finger squarely at the clubs that make up the league, and, more importantly, at the regulatory or license issuing body, the FAI. It will be the same old story until licensing is taken seriously to stop the big stories of the season taking place in the Four Courts.

    So, how to fix it? Well, that's something else that's been debated ad nauseum here, but sure why not give it a go again?

    I believe that the crucial problem is that licensing is not taken seriously by either party involved. When it was proposed most of the details got lost in the eye candy, e.g. 10000000 LUX floodlights or yellow steps. Fair enough, somebody says there's a 65% salary cap but we all know that's a joke right. And I'm not looking at anyone in particular. Bohs. It's the enforcement of this cap that will save clubs here. We won't be able to compete with clubs across channel though and some players expectations that all rather than a few can make their living exclusively from their on the pitch jobs might be dashed.

    Anyway, here's how I think that it can work. In order to receive a license and take part in the next season, a club must submit (a) full accounts for the previous year, and (b) projections for the next year, to include assets and liabilities, e.g. rent, wages, TAX (Hello Cork!) and any other outgoings that exist that would prevent the team competing. Nothing too radical here huh?

    Probably not, but here's the killer. The club must lodge 50% of the next seasons projected liabilites with the FAI as a bond. In the case that the club can't meet their obligations there is a fund there to start to pay out from. As the licensing body, the FAI are responsible to pay the other 50%. So, in the case where a club is forced to draw down on the bond in a month, 8.75% from the clubs deposit from the bond and 8.75% from the licensing body, i.e. the FAI. The details of these bonds should be made publicly available when the season starts and the transfer window is closed.

    How does this fix things? Well, firstly, the FAI won't issue licenses to clubs like they do now, where a club has a few weeks to put together some solution where a license isn't issued initially and all that rubbish. They get assessed on their facilities and pay their bond for the year. If they pass on everything they are in, but unlike now, if they run short on cash through the year, there is a bailout. A second benefit of this is that the FAI are not going to want to expose themselves to financial loss and will be more careful when issuing licenses where they could be responsible for 50% of the liabilities of the league as a whole. The first season of a system like this would be very interesting.

    That's the stick, but where's the carrot I hear you ask? There is none! If you draw on your bond in a season, the consequences are draconian:
    • Relegation the next season
    • Banned from European competition the next 2 seasons
    • Players tied to a club drawing on their bond cannot be transfered for the next two seasons.


    And don't get me started on the national team, that's for next week.

    What do you all think?

  2. #2
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Couple of major problems on a first skimming -

    1) No club is going to have enough cash to hand to cover half the following season's liabilities.
    2) You can't ban players from leaving a club. And if anything, clubs who get into financial trouble should be encouraged to let players leave.

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    Seasoned Pro OneRedArmy's Avatar
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    I like the idea of a bond that must be lodged so the FAI can take over a club mid-season.

    Projections and budgets are currently submitted, but as you can't audit the future, they are effectively useless.

    If the clubs can't manage themselves (and most of them can't), then the next stage is franchise football. Their really is no inbetween. One of the few things I agree with the FAI is that they view this as a last resort and they want to stay away from it if at all possible. Therefore it comes down to the clubs behaving like adults and sorting themselves out, not behaving like incontinent children waiting for someone else to clean the mess up.

    As an aside, amusingly, many of those on here who complained most about Platinum One's franchise proposals, also complain vociferiously about the FAI not taking a more active role...

  4. #4
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    The two options in your last sentence aren't mutually exclusive. You can oppose the idea of a set-up where the big clubs want to get out of the current regulations they currently (don't) have to abide by, and still look for the FAI to actually enforce their own regulations.

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    Coach John83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneRedArmy View Post
    As an aside, amusingly, many of those on here who complained most about Platinum One's franchise proposals, also complain vociferiously about the FAI not taking a more active role...
    I see no hypocrisy in thinking that tighter regulation of club finances would be advisable and having no desire to support South Dublin FC.

    It would be great if the clubs could be forced to build up substantial savings to avoid cash-flow problems, but I believe the main thing is to foster a culture of realistic budgeting and avoiding current expenditure related debt first. It's a little early to write off the wage cap - there's too much debt and the sudden recession has forced crises on a lot of clubs before they could have really straightened out their finances.

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    Seasoned Pro OneRedArmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    The two options in your last sentence aren't mutually exclusive. You can oppose the idea of a set-up where the big clubs want to get out of the current regulations they currently (don't) have to abide by, and still look for the FAI to actually enforce their own regulations.
    Quote Originally Posted by John83 View Post
    I see no hypocrisy in thinking that tighter regulation of club finances would be advisable and having no desire to support South Dublin FC.

    It would be great if the clubs could be forced to build up substantial savings to avoid cash-flow problems, but I believe the main thing is to foster a culture of realistic budgeting and avoiding current expenditure related debt first. It's a little early to write off the wage cap - there's too much debt and the sudden recession has forced crises on a lot of clubs before they could have really straightened out their finances.
    Franchising isn't about changing names or cheerleaders.

    Its about a franchisor imposing tight, homgeneous, controls on franchisees limiting the scope to which they can depart from agreed protocols.

    Lets take budgets. How can you force someone to abide by a budget without actually taking over control?

  7. #7
    rerun
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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Couple of major problems on a first skimming -

    1) No club is going to have enough cash to hand to cover half the following season's liabilities.
    2) You can't ban players from leaving a club. And if anything, clubs who get into financial trouble should be encouraged to let players leave.
    (1) Exactly my point. They don't have it before the season, plus they don't have it during the season! It would force more austerity on all clubs. Let assume you must lodge 50% of projected liabilites for the following season, it creates a situation where the current season has to form a basis for the bond, i.e. put it away now or you can't play next season.

    (2) Why not? They would be getting paid because of the bond meaning that they would not have the right to break their contract. A standardised contract including a clause that the players contract term is extended for two seasons at current agreement levels could be activated and hey presto we have a two year lock in. Players can't simply up and leave clubs can they? Contracts actually mean something in the football world don't they?

  8. #8
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneRedArmy
    Lets take budgets. How can you force someone to abide by a budget without actually taking over control?
    Budgets aren't worth the paper they're written on. But you don't need to take control to, for example, issue a points deduction for failing to pay players or for missing tax payments.

    rerun - on your two points. Clubs raise money during the year to keep going; they don't have all the season's money up front on day 1. So for example, while sponsorship money and season ticket money would be in, you've got gate receipts, draw money, merchandise money, extra fundraising events which come in throughout the year and keep the club ticking over. No club would be in a position to put up a bond of half their annual outgoings.

    Point two is a breach of contract law, I'd say. You can't ban a player from seeking a transfer because his club are in a bit of trouble. You'd be sued within seconds.
    Last edited by pineapple stu; 04/09/2009 at 1:33 PM.

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    Banned marinobohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rerun View Post
    As I look down this forum it seems to be the same old story over and over again, "<insert team here> in financial trouble" or "<insert team here> fails to pay players wages". Whether it's Shels, Drogheda, Cork or Derry one thing is for sure, they are killing the game in Ireland.

    Now, I know we all jump in the bandwagon and blame barstoolers for all the ills of the "domestic" game, but I think we have to point the finger squarely at the clubs that make up the league, and, more importantly, at the regulatory or license issuing body, the FAI. It will be the same old story until licensing is taken seriously to stop the big stories of the season taking place in the Four Courts.

    So, how to fix it? Well, that's something else that's been debated ad nauseum here, but sure why not give it a go again?

    I believe that the crucial problem is that licensing is not taken seriously by either party involved. When it was proposed most of the details got lost in the eye candy, e.g. 10000000 LUX floodlights or yellow steps. Fair enough, somebody says there's a 65% salary cap but we all know that's a joke right. And I'm not looking at anyone in particular. Bohs. It's the enforcement of this cap that will save clubs here. We won't be able to compete with clubs across channel though and some players expectations that all rather than a few can make their living exclusively from their on the pitch jobs might be dashed.

    Anyway, here's how I think that it can work. In order to receive a license and take part in the next season, a club must submit (a) full accounts for the previous year, and (b) projections for the next year, to include assets and liabilities, e.g. rent, wages, TAX (Hello Cork!) and any other outgoings that exist that would prevent the team competing. Nothing too radical here huh?

    Probably not, but here's the killer. The club must lodge 50% of the next seasons projected liabilites with the FAI as a bond. In the case that the club can't meet their obligations there is a fund there to start to pay out from. As the licensing body, the FAI are responsible to pay the other 50%. So, in the case where a club is forced to draw down on the bond in a month, 8.75% from the clubs deposit from the bond and 8.75% from the licensing body, i.e. the FAI. The details of these bonds should be made publicly available when the season starts and the transfer window is closed.

    How does this fix things? Well, firstly, the FAI won't issue licenses to clubs like they do now, where a club has a few weeks to put together some solution where a license isn't issued initially and all that rubbish. They get assessed on their facilities and pay their bond for the year. If they pass on everything they are in, but unlike now, if they run short on cash through the year, there is a bailout. A second benefit of this is that the FAI are not going to want to expose themselves to financial loss and will be more careful when issuing licenses where they could be responsible for 50% of the liabilities of the league as a whole. The first season of a system like this would be very interesting.


    That's the stick, but where's the carrot I hear you ask? There is none! If you draw on your bond in a season, the consequences are draconian:
    • Relegation the next season
    • Banned from European competition the next 2 seasons
    • Players tied to a club drawing on their bond cannot be transfered for the next two seasons.

    And don't get me started on the national team, that's for next week.

    What do you all think?
    Bohs have not reneged on players wages (unlike Derry) surely a worse offence than breaking an imaginary 65% figure ?
    Most clubs in LOI have had tax issues, why single out Cork ?

    As ever "its all the other clubs fault" approach demeans your aurgument. Further, clubs (already strapped for cash) would have to borrow 50% of projected future earnings before the season starts thus incurring additional interest costs (pressuming all clubs could get loans).
    the provision regarding the players would constitute restraint of work and probobly be illeagal.

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    Everyone who follows the league knows that for the most part the FAI live in cloud-cuckoo land. The problem with the licence is that it is far too detailed on minor things and has no details on major issues. The fines dished out are a huge draw on funds from most clubs who are struggling. I would firstly propose any fines, unless for major, major offences, should all be for less than €200.

    Secondly I would make the FAI organise at least 3 home International friendlies in a year to create a fund for the league. The fund would solely be used for the up keep and upgrading of all grounds in the league. The fund over a period could be used as a root fund to aid clubs buy out their own grounds and training facitilities.

    During a season there really is no way to legally check up on the books of a club. I would even question if the 65% cap being passed that leads to a transfer embargo is right or fair. I would sooner see that there be only a two grade pay system in place that covers a three week period. The first grade being 100% and the second grade being 65%. A club in difficulty may only pay the 65% over a three week period allowing for perhaps 3 occassions in the year. The club would still be liable for the full 100% at season's end and this should be paid in full 8 weeks prior to the start of the next season. If it is not paid sanctions are applied starting with a loss of prize money for the pevious season and which should only be paid 6 weeks before the start of the new season and going up on a rising scale to down-grading of League position and then at its worst to include the relegation of a club. The wage issue is by far the single most important issue for the FAI everything else is window dressing.

    The idea that even now the FAI does not own its own ground for international games is still a standing joke. Until they sort this out then they are not much of an example for any League of Ireland club. Leadership should always come from the top down.

    Would it actually harm the game if the League of Ireland was to withdraw from European competition for a number of years until it actually learned to operate from a firm footing? This might just stop clubs from attempting to 'buy the league'.
    Aon, dó, trí, bhí mé i mo luí, thit mé den leaba, he! he! he!

  11. #11
    rerun
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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    rerun - on your two points. Clubs raise money during the year to keep going; they don't have all the season's money up front on day 1. So for example, while sponsorship money and season ticket money would be in, you've got gate receipts, draw money, merchandise money, extra fundraising events which come in throughout the year and keep the club ticking over. No club would be in a position to put up a bond of half their annual outgoings.

    Point two is a breach of contract law, I'd say. You can't ban a player from seeking a transfer because his club are in a bit of trouble. You'd be sued within seconds.
    1. So what if they don't have all their full income on day 1, the idea is that you have, say, €100K on day 1, well, then you cut your cloth to fit your measure so to speak. If that means no full time salaries, c'est la vie. The next season, they'll have the money they saved by not breaking the bank, plus sponsorship etc. making season two's bond and expenditure more realistic.

    2. On breaching contract law, what if that's in the contract. You hear of players with clauses that allow them to move for a certain price, you can't have it both ways. If you don't like it, don't play.

  12. #12
    rerun
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    Quote Originally Posted by marinobohs View Post
    Bohs have not reneged on players wages (unlike Derry) surely a worse offence than breaking an imaginary 65% figure ?
    Most clubs in LOI have had tax issues, why single out Cork ?

    As ever "its all the other clubs fault" approach demeans your aurgument. Further, clubs (already strapped for cash) would have to borrow 50% of projected future earnings before the season starts thus incurring additional interest costs (pressuming all clubs could get loans).
    the provision regarding the players would constitute restraint of work and probobly be illeagal.
    Firstly, I didn't single anyone out, I mentioned four clubs at the start. I merely added Cork and Bohs as current examples of such cases as breaking wage caps, tax problems etc. I think that the very fact that I support Derry and I'm proposing something like this is an indictment of my own club aswell! If that wasn't clear enough, then I'll say it now.

    I never said it's all the other clubs fault, I said the clubs themselves are the problem, EVERY club. If I named everyone at every point the post would be just a list over and over again.

    On the point of restraint of work, how are football contracts enforcable in that case?

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rerun View Post
    1. So what if they don't have all their full income on day 1, the idea is that you have, say, €100K on day 1, well, then you cut your cloth to fit your measure so to speak. If that means no full time salaries, c'est la vie. The next season, they'll have the money they saved by not breaking the bank, plus sponsorship etc. making season two's bond and expenditure more realistic.
    No club would have E100k either. It's an interesting idea, but a practical complete non-runner.

    2. On breaching contract law, what if that's in the contract. You hear of players with clauses that allow them to move for a certain price, you can't have it both ways. If you don't like it, don't play.
    Either no player will sign a contract, or else people will sue anyways because it's illegal, and putting it in a contract won't change that.

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    Can anyone tell me where I can find the full UEFA licensing requirements and the FAI's directive on licensing?

    If anyone has the actual docs PM me & I'll give you my email address.

    Thanks.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    I think the FAI Licencing documents used to be available as a Word download off their website somewhere. They're updated each year.

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    Stuttgart88 be prepared to be confused and bored to death if you read those. What is written and what applies is often poles apart.
    Aon, dó, trí, bhí mé i mo luí, thit mé den leaba, he! he! he!

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    I think the FAI Licencing documents used to be available as a Word download off their website somewhere. They're updated each year.
    The 2010 document is out but not updated on the FAI website yet

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    Capped Player SkStu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rerun View Post

    2. On breaching contract law, what if that's in the contract. You hear of players with clauses that allow them to move for a certain price, you can't have it both ways. If you don't like it, don't play.
    a third party cannot unilaterally restrict an employee from moving to another club or another jurisdiction - this part of your plan makes no sense at all.

    Much as it galls me, franchise football seems the only solution for now and for the immediate future. With a centralised youth academy for players who contract themselves to the FAI youth academy (as opposed to leaving for Britain at 14/15/16) and are drafted to clubs at 18/19 for resale in a few years with a percentage of any transfer fees reinvested in the academy.

    Ive said it before, for all the reasons we are all aware of, the League here should be a development and selling league. If the clubs cant get their act together and develop and sell players properly for good fees then a centralised system run by the FAI with and for the clubs should be set-up. This would be marketed aggressively as a viable alternative to trials and youth contracts at British clubs where a player will receive top class coaching with other Irish lads, educated to LC standard with a guarantee of a contract with a LOI club at the end of it and the chance to further their career using that path including moves to Britain and (depending on the quality of coaching) the european continent.
    I like high energy football. A little bit rock and roll. Many finishes instead of waiting for the perfect one.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkStu View Post
    a third party cannot unilaterally restrict an employee from moving to another club or another jurisdiction - this part of your plan makes no sense at all.

    Much as it galls me, franchise football seems the only solution for now and for the immediate future. With a centralised youth academy for players who contract themselves to the FAI youth academy (as opposed to leaving for Britain at 14/15/16) and are drafted to clubs at 18/19 for resale in a few years with a percentage of any transfer fees reinvested in the academy.

    Ive said it before, for all the reasons we are all aware of, the League here should be a development and selling league. If the clubs cant get their act together and develop and sell players properly for good fees then a centralised system run by the FAI with and for the clubs should be set-up. This would be marketed aggressively as a viable alternative to trials and youth contracts at British clubs where a player will receive top class coaching with other Irish lads, educated to LC standard with a guarantee of a contract with a LOI club at the end of it and the chance to further their career using that path including moves to Britain and (depending on the quality of coaching) the european continent.
    I agree roughly with a lot of what you say, except this point. You can't guarantee these kids a contract - what do they have to work towards if their future is already sorted by the fact that they're in the academy?

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    Capped Player SkStu's Avatar
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    thanks Brian and yeah, its a rough idea but in terms of the question you have raised i would say that a player would be guaranteed a 2 year contract with a club at the end but not necessarily guaranteed a future. They still have to perfom and their progress is evaluated like any player in a LOI team.

    There are clearly issues with the idea but it could be easily set up and run pretty well with the academy players playing in high profile youth tournaments. Say its a 4 year program with players evaluated after each year, some are cut year on year and after the fourth year they are drafted to teams like they do with the NFL draft which is HUGE in the States. If the FAI could even begin to emulate the success of the NFL draft, it could really catch the publics imagination and benefit the league...
    I like high energy football. A little bit rock and roll. Many finishes instead of waiting for the perfect one.

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