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Thread: Where might new clubs come from?

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    Reading about the 92/93 season, apparently the top 3 finished on the same points and goal difference wasn't allowed to decide the winners, so a championship playoff had to take place, except all 3 teams again finished on exactly the same points, so another championship playoff had to take place. Crazy stuff.

    Anyway, the split league maybe could've been implemented better, it seems like there was no no benefit to finishing top of the bottom 6, nor was their anything to avoid by finishing last in the top six. Most split leagues have it so the bottom few in the top six aand top one or two of the bottom six play each other for the last remaining Euro spots. The idea being that everyone is playing for something right up to the last match. It seems like the split league in the 90s was just to manage the fixture list.

    I would also be trying to get rid of the First Division and a few clubs if I were the FAI. We have a preety small population and market size, it's hard to justify so many teams let alone looking for more. If you look at Europe, big cities like Paris or Barcelona have 1 or 2 teams each while in Ireland, for example Dublin, smaller than both those two has 6 clubs, not to mention the smaller national population and fanbase too. It's hard to imagine us ever competing in Europe with this kind of distribution of clubs.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Getting rid of a few clubs makes absolutely no sense at all.

    We need new clubs, not to be getting rid of existing ones. We need to encourage non-league clubs with any potential to take a step up, to push themselves and improve the game as a whole.

    You don't do that by getting rid of teams.

    Paris and Barcelona have way more than 1 or 2 teams btw. And the size of their respective leagues makes it an irrelevant comparison to Ireland.
    Last edited by pineapple stu; 06/05/2021 at 8:38 AM.

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  4. #363
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    No point in bringing more teams into the league in order to collapse in a few years (the Salthill Devon/Mervue fiasco springs to mind but there are more examples) when it's already tough enough to get fans into a stadium for a lower 1st Division match. We'd improve the game more by pooling resources than splitting everything between even more clubs.

    There was someone here who used to talk about the Rugby and how they split everything between the 4 provinces so they could compete with clubs elsewhere with bigger population bases. I didn't like the idea at the time but the more I read about these regional league ideas the more I'm thinking a bit of consolidation is probably what we need.

    With Paris/Barcelona I was talking about in the higher divisions but even your Barcelona link is mainly reserve teams for Barça and Espanyol. I'd personally rather fewer teams doing better than a lot of teams doing terrible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShelsTim View Post
    No point in bringing more teams into the league in order to collapse in a few years (the Salthill Devon/Mervue fiasco springs to mind but there are more examples) when it's already tough enough to get fans into a stadium for a lower 1st Division match. We'd improve the game more by pooling resources than splitting everything between even more clubs.

    There was someone here who used to talk about the Rugby and how they split everything between the 4 provinces so they could compete with clubs elsewhere with bigger population bases. I didn't like the idea at the time but the more I read about these regional league ideas the more I'm thinking a bit of consolidation is probably what we need.

    With Paris/Barcelona I was talking about in the higher divisions but even your Barcelona link is mainly reserve teams for Barça and Espanyol. I'd personally rather fewer teams doing better than a lot of teams doing terrible.
    So who do you propose to tell to F off back Junior football?

    The rugby comparison is interesting but the reason they consolidated was to stop players going abroad for money. Look at the state of the AIL league, its falling apart when it was quite successful before all money was pumped into the provinces. But then its also a minority sport when you compare it to football/ga.

    We are never going to see players earn massive money here but if we steadily grew the league and if every team in the premier division could aim to have 5k crowds consistently in time then they can be full time and self sufficient. As others have said we need more clubs not less. Its nothing to do with reducing clubs, we need government funding to be spent on facilities and to ensure its spent correctly to upgrade facilities and encourage more Irish people to go LOI games.

    Spoke to a cousin of mine a few weeks ago when the super league idea was floated, said it was bull **** and who should we support now. I suggested Athlone as its the local LOI club and what i got back was, feck no its a load of ****... blah blah blah, asked when was the last time you watched/attended a game. He said early 2000's. Until that attitude changes we are going no where.

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    Seasoned Pro NeverFeltBetter's Avatar
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    The Republic's population is 4.9 million. Let's throw in Derry City and make it an even 5.
    Dublin's population is 1.3. That is roughly 26% of the population of the country.

    There are 20 League of Ireland clubs. Six of them are in Dublin, which is 30% of the league. I would say it's quite representative of the demographics of the country.

    Removing clubs from the league is both unnecessary and ill-advised, considering that one of the key problems is getting clubs in. Attempting to re-distribute clubs, by getting rid of Dublin clubs (which ones, by the way? Best of luck in that fan meeting: Sorry Shels, can you support Bohs now?) and setting up new clubs (presumably in areas of significantly less population, considering you won't be putting them in Cork, Limerick or Galway) is not the way to improve the league.

    It's been said here before, but you need an FAI with balls to take on the likes of the LSL and basically insist on a pyramid. No sign of that happening though.
    Author of Never Felt Better (History, Film Reviews).

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    International Prospect Nesta99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Getting rid of a few clubs makes absolutely no sense at all.

    We need new clubs, not to be getting rid of existing ones. We need to encourage non-league clubs with any potential to take a step up, to push themselves and improve the game as a whole.

    You don't do that by getting rid of teams.

    Paris and Barcelona have way more than 1 or 2 teams btw. And the size of their respective leagues makes it an irrelevant comparison to Ireland.
    The folly has always been that clubs that try to make the step up sold the family silver to do so. Its just makes sense that clubs move up/down the leagues on merit and not in a 'must spend' way. I dont see the risk to clubs in a manner if there is an appropriate system to move up divisions particularly if regionalised. But again there has to be some benefit to moving up to senior football and it not being a burden. Bottom of the 1st Division needs to have a financial net gain for a club - of course clubs need to resist the whole speculate to accumulate tendency too.

    Hello Magicme MkII, welcome back! When crowds are back sure Oriel Park is only over the road
    Last edited by Nesta99; 06/05/2021 at 2:54 PM.

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  9. #367
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    What's more worrying is that in a doomsday scenario for the 2021 season, you could end up having the teams from Derry, Waterford, Cork, Galway and Limerick all playing in the 1st division next year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShelsTim View Post
    Anyway, the split league maybe could've been implemented better, it seems like there was no no benefit to finishing top of the bottom 6, nor was their anything to avoid by finishing last in the top six. Most split leagues have it so the bottom few in the top six aand top one or two of the bottom six play each other for the last remaining Euro spots. The idea being that everyone is playing for something right up to the last match. It seems like the split league in the 90s was just to manage the fixture list.
    The IL Premiership, which currently operates a top six/bottom six split three quarters of the way through the season, has a novel solution to your problem (in bold).

    Next season four IL teams qualify for Europe - the league winners go into the CL prelim rounds, while the other three qualify for the (new) Europa Conference. The league runners-up automatically get a Conference spot, as do the Irish Cup winners.

    The final Conference slot is allocated as follows. Assuming the Irish Cup winner has also finished in the top six, then the teams finishing 3rd to 7th play-off at the end of the season, in a series of one-off ties, with the higher placed teams having home advantage etc.
    (See "European Qualification section of this page for a more complete explanation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NIFL_Premiership


    And if you look at the current table, Ballymena in 8th are only 3 points behind Glenavon in 7th, with 4 games left to play:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football...miership/table

    Which means that they've a big incentive to finish to play right through:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/56959534

    Indeed you could conceivably get a situation whereby teams in 9th, or even 10th, might still be in with a shot at 7th place, come the split.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShelsTim View Post
    I would also be trying to get rid of the First Division and a few clubs if I were the FAI. We have a preety small population and market size, it's hard to justify so many teams let alone looking for more. If you look at Europe, big cities like Paris or Barcelona have 1 or 2 teams each while in Ireland, for example Dublin, smaller than both those two has 6 clubs, not to mention the smaller national population and fanbase too. It's hard to imagine us ever competing in Europe with this kind of distribution of clubs.
    I have no dog in this fight, but from an NI pov, this seems bonkers (no offence intended).

    We have less than half the population, but with a similar Dublin/Belfast-centric concentration of clubs, the majority of whom are part-time. We are also without our 2nd city's biggest club, (DCFC).

    Yet we can manage to operate a successful pyramid, operating promotion and relegation right through from Junior to Intermediate to Senior football.

    Which means we now have senior clubs in areas which never used to have senior teams (eg Dungannon, Ballinamallard and Warrenpoint), and Derry's second, but much smaller club, Institute, can maintain senior football too (just about!). Meanwhile, when eg Portadowm finally got back to the Premiership this season, they were able to be replaced in the Championship by near neighbours Annagh Utd, who seem both progressive and ambitious.

    Further, when Newry City effectively went bust (but didn't lose their ground, which they stll owned), there was a route back to senior football for their phoenix club, which they took.

    While two formerly big(gish) clubs, Distillery and Bangor, who found themselves no longer able to compete at Senior level, were still able to find a better home in Intermediate football, rather than merely drifting out of business entirely.

    So unless I'm missing something obvious I see no good (emphasise) reason why the FAI/LOI couldn't introduce something similar down south over time.
    Last edited by EalingGreen; 06/05/2021 at 2:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EalingGreen View Post

    So unless I'm missing something obvious I see no good (emphasise) reason why the FAI/LOI couldn't introduce something similar down south over time.
    There isnt a good reason bar internal sparring on the league season/schedule. The clubs and structures are there if the seasons were aligned. Maybe Im seeing it as over simplified.

    I can still hear Jackie Fullerton doing the Saturday results, 'Lisburn Distillery 1 - Ballymena United 3' with almost a Yeahhh for Ballymena lol.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Yeah, the idea that fewer clubs is what we need, or that Wexford are somehow impacting Shamrock Rovers, simply doesn't stack up at all.

    Look at the impact that extending the pyramid had on the leagues in England and Scotland - it started churning up the bottom divisions as fresh blood came in to strengthen the leagues. Clubs like Ross County, Peterhead, Cove Rangers and Edinburgh City have come in at various stages in the past 25 years and been immediately successful, while the likes of East Stirling and Berwick can regroup at a lower level. Similarly in England you have Wimbledon, Wycombe, Yeovil, Forest Green and others coming in to improve the lower leagues, while others like Darlington, York, Torquay, Wrexham, etc can regroup and know what they have to do to get back to where they were at.

    There's no reason to believe it wouldn't work similarly here - Athlone, Wexford, etc, could regroup at a lower level (and build interest with a couple of decent seasons rather than be bottom every year), while clubs in Newbridge, Tralee, Navan, etc would have a safe path to take to improve and take a place in the league. (As well as the Tralee fiasco, Newbridge Town declined a place in the LoI and entered as Kildare County instead, which can't have helped the new club)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShelsTim View Post
    With Paris/Barcelona I was talking about in the higher divisions but even your Barcelona link is mainly reserve teams for Barça and Espanyol.
    Firstly, the Barcelona link includes five tier 4 sides in Europa, Horta, Montanensa, Sant Andreu and Sants, and that's just in the city, so it's not true to say they're mainly reserve sides for the big two. There are other clubs then in towns very close by, including third tier Badalona, Cornelia. Prat, and L'Hospitalitet, which aren't on that list. I don't know what crowds are in tier 4 of Spain, but in the third tier, they average 2,000 (with a fair bit of variation), so the fourth tier - helped by being regionalised - is going to be comparable to lower LoI anyway.

    Secondly, again, there is literally no point trying to compare any LoI side with Barcelona.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShelsTim View Post
    I'd personally rather fewer teams doing better than a lot of teams doing terrible.
    You what?

    There’s always going to be teams struggling at the bottom of the league. You literally can never avoid this.

    Do you think you will make the LoI better by pretending the bottom of the First Division doesn’t exist?

    What a bizarre post.
    Last edited by pineapple stu; 06/05/2021 at 3:35 PM.

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    I'm guessing what ShelsTim is getting at is that if we have fewer teams in the division it would raise the standard as a whole. I think everyone would agree that going from 12 to 10 teams has improved standards across the league.

    This is kind of the point I was getting at too when raising the prospect of a third tier. I wouldn't like to see a first division with any more than 10 teams. For instance if we had 24 clubs I think I'd be I'd be in favor of 3 divisions of 8 instead of 2x12.

    What EalingGreen described happening in the north is exactly the template I think we should be aiming for in terms of split season after 3 rounds of fixtures with an incentive for all at the end.

    Just reading through this thread has made it so painstaking clear that the lack of a pyramid structure is detrimental to the progression of standards, how on earth are we in a position that there is way more risk than reward for trying to get your club to a higher level.

    I know it's just always been like this but what does anyone know exactly what the blockers are between linking up Junior/Intermediate/Senior football? I can't really get my head around it, there's surely more to it than summer vs winter seasons.

    Any chance this could now be reviewed given the shake up of the FAI make up in the last year?

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yurt View Post
    I'm guessing what ShelsTim is getting at is that if we have fewer teams in the division it would raise the standard as a whole. I think everyone would agree that going from 12 to 10 teams has improved standards across the league.
    Maybe, but it's a fallacy though. Why not reduce the division to 2 teams to raise standards? And we're running out of clubs to cut anyway - 8 teams is a crap league, so can you really go lower than 2 x 10?

    The fact of the matter is a bit of churn at the bottom of the FD - through a pyramid - would improve things. We need more clubs capable of giving players a chance at a top level.

    What blockers are there between the levels? I'm not an expert at all, but apart from seasons as you mention, there's the structure (ie the Tralee Dynamoes issue where they were dumped back to the bottom of their District League when the A Championship folded) and there's politics (clubs are happy winning the Meath and District or the Limerick Desmond League, and league kingpins are happy thinking they're serious players in the game here. A lot of turkeys need to vote for Christmas unfortunately)
    Last edited by pineapple stu; 06/05/2021 at 6:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Getting rid of a few clubs makes absolutely no sense at all.
    Can't believe it's 2021 and people are talking about reducing the already tiny number of clubs again.

    What we need is a low-risk bridge between the LOI and amateur leagues. Some middle ground where a club can step up in standard from just playing teams in their area but not risk blowing the whole club up like Salthill and Mervue did. A relaxation of standards at the lower level so amateur teams can test themselves against better sides and, if they're up to it, there's the potential to gradually improve their facilities and structures to be league-level.

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    For my 2 cents what's needed is a Pyramid structure from Junior Leagues all the way up to LOI Premier division
    You could have the Premier and 1st
    then under this have the Dublin senior league, Connacht SL, Munster SL, Ulster SL or whatever you want to call them

    20 years ago there was a Connacht Senior league with 2 divisions with 10 teams in each if memory serves me
    Now it doesn't exist at all!!

    They play off for 1 or 2 spots who are promoted to LOI 1st division

    Under this have promotion relegation in the LSL, DSL, MSL USL from the Junior leagues

    As the previous posters said it improves the standard
    Currently there's no carrot for any large town circa 20K population in Ireland to want to improve and no carrot for the players

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    I wonder will the fact that our football pyramid has huge chunks missing from it ever come under scrutiny in big media platforms?
    During the last international window when we got beaten by Luxembourg I'd often remind people that intermediate football in the country basically doesn't exist. No Connacht league, and the other three are just dominated by that province's most dominate county. Of course most people don't know this, even big LOI fans don't know much about the world below the first division.

    There needs to be some sort of pressure campaign to get this thing moving, I don't know who that campaign consists off. It's worth remembering that Irish sporting culture doesn't do pyramids. We have county & provincial teams in most sports, with the LOI basically having a half assed franchise system. At the very least the A- Championship should be brought back as a band aid
    oh boy I'm not good at football forums

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    Culture below elite levels needs to change too not just with the FAI needing to lead change. There are far too many that are quite happy to be the big cheese in their own little tiny world. Not just in soccer, being from Louth its also very evident in local GAA circles here. Up until very recently many people were quite good with being the top people with one of the weakest counties. With mixed views on who is heading up GAA in the county at least there is evidence of ambition with the impasse on a county ground resolved and a high profile manager appointed on a long term contract and also responsible for development structures - once the old cabal was disrupted things moved forward though still all very much a clique.

    Ive seen very little to suggest that soccer teams in this region want to do much either. I will take Navan just as an example, with Dundalk and Drogheda having senior clubs - as the HQ for the Meath and District leagues there has been active obstructing of potential mergers of intermediate/junior levels. There is an unwillingness to even talk about it. Clubs dont seem to care too much as they would be playing at similar levels, teams and geographically but under a wider system, with potential to climb to higher grades if theY choose, be it sporting merit or opting against in fear of the financial pressures beyond a certain point. Change to a summer season has a mixed reaction so a bigger challenge at the clubs, again less issue in Dundalk/Drogheda probably as generally people are used to the concept of summer football. It would probably just take some proper leadership from the FAI with carrot and stick needed interchangeably depending on who they are chatting to. I know one of the most significant perks that small league admin were very worried about back in the day was access to international ticket allocations but I not sure if thats such a big deal these days considering the fortunes of the international side. Getting hold of tickets was to put on a big show for their associates and not so much for the benefit of a club.

    As I see it, officers at leagues and clubs treat it more like a social club and not much else so want to stick as they are by and large. There has to be a social element but not just pints for the boys in the local. There is a whole lot more work these days supposed to be done by league and club officers and while you dont want to discourage volunteers with work load, if the FAI properly audited clubs to ensure obligations are fulfilled (say on child protection issues) then the people who are in only there for personal 'status' would drop off. With proper support and training provided by the FAI, imo those who are genuinely interested in developing the game, improving structures etc., would filter to the top. The FAI cant dish out a wedge of money to assist clubs but they could provide officer/coach training without it being cost prohibitive and that, by extension, could lessen resistance to reform. A practical thing the FAI could provide is a central database type system to ease some admin, where results, clubs, teams sheets, venues, refs appointed et al. can be input and hence league tables, player registrations, players bans, fixture lists get generated automatically and be available online almost in real time. If this sort of effort and leadership is seen, the tangible benefits of being in being included in such systems realised, then you have a baseline for buy-in to reform. Those that stay outside the system can do their own thing tbh but over time as they get left behind they will seek election in to a properly organised structure. Getting something like this in place is needed before access routes to A-Championships. If some clubs want to step up sooner then have a fast tracked route levels directly below LoI if sustainability (the ability to develop and grow) can be shown(hmmm?!?). If trying to show ambition fails then there needs to be a fall back system ie simple relegation that is not abortive to the club.

    We all want this to happen quickly but really it is a longer term process, imo 3-5 years minimum before promotion/relegation across the whole structure of the game can happen in a properly integrated way so a club can theoretically (on merit) be promoted from the bottom of the Meath and District League to League of Ireland Premier Division.
    Last edited by Nesta99; 11/05/2021 at 4:13 PM.

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  22. #378
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nesta99 View Post
    As I see it, officers at leagues and clubs treat it more like a social club and not much else so want to stick as they are by and large. There has to be a social element but not just pints for the boys in the local. There is a whole lot more work these days supposed to be done by league and club officers and while you dont want to discourage volunteers with work load, if the FAI properly audited clubs to ensure obligations are fulfilled (say on child protection issues) then the people who are in only there for personal 'status' would drop off. With proper support and training provided by the FAI, imo those who are genuinely interested in developing the game, improving structures etc., would filter to the top. The FAI cant dish out a wedge of money to assist clubs but they could provide officer/coach training without it being cost prohibitive and that, by extension, could lessen resistance to reform. A practical thing the FAI could provide is a central database type system to ease some admin, where results, clubs, teams sheets, venues, refs appointed et al. can be input and hence league tables, player registrations, players bans, fixture lists get generated automatically and be available online almost in real time. If this sort of effort and leadership is seen, the tangible benefits of being in being included in such systems realised, then you have a baseline for buy-in to reform. Those that stay outside the system can do their own thing tbh but over time as they get left behind they will seek election in to a properly organised structure. Getting something like this in place is needed before access routes to A-Championships. If some clubs want to step up sooner then have a fast tracked route levels directly below LoI if sustainability (the ability to develop and grow) can be shown(hmmm?!?). If trying to show ambition fails then there needs to be a fall back system ie simple relegation that is not abortive to the club.
    I'd say you haven't been involved in football for decades or else Louth is just a shambles. You cannot go near a juvenile team if you don't have a child protection course done. This also affects funding. Also in terms of helping clubs to be properly run, see this:
    http://galwayfa.ie/content_page/115696/

    At least it's been spoken about: https://www.irishmirror.ie/sport/soc...e-new-23668051

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    International Prospect Nesta99's Avatar
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    You arent far off with not being directly involved for a while but not quite decades yet. Very much involved in getting sports clubs up to speed on child protection policies and obligations early 00's to 2010 or so. There is a big difference between doing mandatory courses and it not being seen a tick box exercise. Maybe wasnt the best example to use but breaking down the 'never at our club' belief and almost insult at the suggestion that a club needed to work on this was a battle back in the day, and not just football of course. I was really focusing on the adult game above though as as you say the underage game has different considerations when it comes to welfare both players and coaches. Actually parents attitudes posed problems too eg having to demand that they were not late picking up kids from training to avoid coaches and kids being put in vulnerable situations. Some clubs were better than others with communication between parents if legitimate delays happened but usually there was a pattern that needed to be addressed with a kids parents. Everyone hates that sort of chat, even trained CPOs (though now all coaches have to take the short course before getting near the football stuff). I would bet a hefty sum that a significant amount of CPO's have few records kept and it not because there were never issues of concern. But its a different chat from what was intended above but part of the need for auditing on a wider scale. There are implications like GRDP etc but being able to upload records to a central point (FAI protection office?) probably especially for sensitive records I dont believe is an option yet but maybe things have progressed there.

    Training for other officers was a big part of the Local Sports Partnerships and engagement did require linking to funding. The kicker was that people sent to officer training were often not the actual secretary/treasurer/chair but people delegated to do the leg work. As you can imagine the type of character at times - 'I dont need to be trained in chairing mettings effectively, done it for years' and they were usually the ones that had meetings last hours, never had an agenda or minutes, wink and nudge decisions. Decisions made among buddies at the bar or in a corridor long before the meeting blah blah - micro example of the FAI itself I suppose.

    For the record Im not saying ALL football needs this sort of stuff, just those who are are a part of a formal structure/competition under the auspices of the FAI. If some lads set up a Sunday league because they dont want to have to jump through hoops so be it and it will happen, but grants, insurance scams I mean schemes wouldnt be available.
    Last edited by Nesta99; 11/05/2021 at 4:33 PM.

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    There has certainly been a massive change in attitude towards club volunteers being more qualified in child welfare, first-aid, coaching, etc. in the past 15 or so years but I don't think clubs had much choice. Where I live there's six clubs within a 2km radius, so if you're trying to charge €100-€200 membership, people expect it and if one club can't offer this environment then they'll move to another club.
    The single biggest obstacle to the pyramid is still getting the various league committees to vote for their own abolishment but at least we finally have someone in the FAI actually talking about it. It's the first step. The lockdown was the perfect opportunity to rearrange everything and align all the leagues to the same season. Personally I couldn't care less whether that's the traditional season or the calendar season, let's face it, the weather's s h i t e in Galway all year round!

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