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Thread: Parity In The League Of Ireland

  1. #1
    Seasoned Pro NeverFeltBetter's Avatar
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    Parity In The League Of Ireland

    This popped up on RTE yesterday: https://www.rte.ie/sport/soccer/2018...windling-fast/

    In summation: draws are down, wins by more than a goal are up, the distance from first to last has never been higher and the same three teams keep qualifying for Europe.

    I'm sure it will raise some hackles on various points, but I wanted to talk about the idea of "parity" in a sporting contest. Do we think that parity between clubs is something we should be aiming to try and actively create? That is to say, should the league/FAI be taking measures, like the proposed re-distribution of European prize money say, or even something more radical, to make more clubs competitive? We all know that things go up and down in LOI, but it does seem like Dundalk and Cork are carving out a monopoly at the top.

    I'm very on the fence on this. Dundalk, Cork, Shams and, albeit by a sudden injection of cash, even Waterford have earned their success and should feel hard done by if any of it was siphoned off to the benefit of the rest and, in the end, would the amount when diluted be all that much for clubs with huge debts? And what else could you do? Other sporting leagues have salary caps and draft systems that favour lower ranked clubs, but different tradition and law complicate implementing such things here.

    At the same time, I do worry that the League is heading to a situation where those top three/four clubs are just caught in a positive cycle of European money - success on the field - European money - that others can't break into bar a sudden injection of cash that, without meaning to provoke Waterford fans, carries inherent risk if done improperly (just look at Limerick!). I can see the dreaded league split option being implemented at some point down the line for example. Is there a method of creating parity that doesn't drag better clubs down?

    So, should we be attempting to manufacture parity and, if so, how should we do it?
    Author of Never Felt Better (History, Film Reviews).

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    Seasoned Pro El-Pietro's Avatar
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    Sharing a portion of European prize money was proposed by the PCA. I believe Cork City were in favour of it. It was turned down by the clubs as a whole.

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    First Team seand's Avatar
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    "Parity" which of course is an oxymoron in a competitive sporting contest should ideally be aimed for by dragging the standard of rest up, rather than by dragging the top down (redistributing prize money willy-nilly, salary cap). This can only be done successfully with buy in from the 'top' clubs, the other clubs, the FAI, etc.

    The top clubs probably need to agree to a modest redistribution of Euro prize money- perhaps something along the lines of 5% for everything over 300K (i.e. EL qualifiers clubs get one round free). Bear in mind that there are huge costs associated with participating in Europe, you're looking at spending 50%+ of prize money on travel, bonuses etc.
    The other clubs need to up their game, and be more professional on and off the pitch. The full time teams will have an advantage but there shouldn't be the gulf in fitness there currently is between Duncork and the rest. You don't need a full time dietician to revolutionise players' diet. You don't need full time S+C staff to implement a more-or-less professional fitness regime (even for part timers).
    The FAI or whoever's running the league needs to have serious look at making a fully professional (or almost fully pro) Premier Division a runner. That means money- where it's to come from is another thread. Pro or semi-pro player could be entitled to apply for a grant to supplement their wages, prize money could be increased, significant compensation should be paid for TV appearances and rearrangements.
    The whole structure of the league, cups and youth systems needs to be reviewed. A ten team pro top division may be easier to finance than a 12 team one. (There are leagues around Europe with 8 team top flights.) IMO 16 competitive teams would be ideal, but that's a pipe dream in Ireland in the next 30 years.
    Last edited by seand; 11/10/2018 at 11:59 AM.

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    Seasoned Pro White Horse's Avatar
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    The capacity to earn European money will bring investment into the league and will provide clubs with the means to challenge.

    Dundalk were broke in 2012. Fastfix came in, provided modest investment, and the club was in the Europa League within three years.

    The way clubs progress is through encouraging competition and setting high standards. It is not through subsidising mediocrity.

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    Totally agree Seand ! Firstly Dundalks fitness levels are where they should be as a full time team...top class, but how come the likes of Pats don't seem to come near..I say Pats, simply because they're full time too, aren't they ?
    The idea of sharing Euro cash is mad ! Dundalk and Cork for example have got there through hard work on and off the field...let the others try to get to their level ! It reminds me of the Dublin GAA situation, people want to drag Dublin down, where other counties should be aspiring to reach their level.

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    Don't they do a college Dr in the MLS?
    Say the league of Ireland u19 players get a scholarship to a college when they graduate out of 19s, do their degree and if they are good enough get drafted to a League of Ireland team a couple of years into it then great.
    Have the draft pick in reverse order to where you finished the previous season, it would keep salaries way down.

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    Seasoned Pro NeverFeltBetter's Avatar
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    Regards draft systems, I don't think they occur in any European league (open to correction). Is there some EU employment law prohibiting it?
    Author of Never Felt Better (History, Film Reviews).

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    First Team marinobohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeverFeltBetter View Post
    Regards draft systems, I don't think they occur in any European league (open to correction). Is there some EU employment law prohibiting it?
    Possibly prohibited by EU law on mobility of workers ? transfer cap or central transfers (as in IRFU) might prevent teams (currently Dundalk) stockpiling players at the expense of other teams. Given the leap in European money some minor redistribution might be feasible (leagality might be another issue0 but must be predicated on benifiting mostly those that have qualified).
    while football has traditionally been cyclical, the current largesse available from European competition is widening the gulf and that trend is likely to continue.
    Bohemian FC The Big Club since 1890

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    First Team seand's Avatar
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    From the point of view of the currently successful clubs it's in their interest to have a competitive league to better prepare them for Europe, if nothing else. This is one thing the English PL got spectacularly right.... their TV money distribution has helped make their middle ranking clubs among the richest in Europe. In Italy and Spain it is/was every man for himself so Juve, Barca and Real hoover up the majority of TV money.

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    So you want one of the worst performing country in Europe to hamper the more successful teams in the league in the name of Parity? Seems way too conservative for me.

    Between 2005 and 2014, there were 8 different winners in the league, (Shels, Bohs, Rovers, St. Pats, Cork, Sligo, Dundalk and Drogheda), that didnt seem to do much for the league.

    This isn't like a foreign investor has pumped huge amounts of wealth into one club, and its very hard to say the successful teams bought their success. (Yet, with dundalk maybe). Cork and Dundalk are setting a high standard in the league, and its up to the other teams to raise their standards to catch up and earn winning.

    Discussion should not be about Parity, but for sustainability. The league has lost way too many clubs and isn't attractive enough. Lower the stadards of the top clubs wont change that.

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    First Team marinobohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiki Balboa View Post
    So you want one of the worst performing country in Europe to hamper the more successful teams in the league in the name of Parity? Seems way too conservative for me.

    Between 2005 and 2014, there were 8 different winners in the league, (Shels, Bohs, Rovers, St. Pats, Cork, Sligo, Dundalk and Drogheda), that didnt seem to do much for the league.

    This isn't like a foreign investor has pumped huge amounts of wealth into one club, and its very hard to say the successful teams bought their success. (Yet, with dundalk maybe). Cork and Dundalk are setting a high standard in the league, and its up to the other teams to raise their standards to catch up and earn winning.

    Discussion should not be about Parity, but for sustainability. The league has lost way too many clubs and isn't attractive enough. Lower the stadards of the top clubs wont change that.
    As long as one or two clubs enjoy the ever increasing largesse (by LOI standards) of European qualification it will be near impossible for other clubs to bridge the gap, without further risking sustainability by over spending. if (and it s an 'If') people want parity or anything resembling it then there needs to be a redistribution of available resources -i.e. money. Simply telling other clubs to 'raise their standards' without adequate support and/or expecting them to complete with clubs getting many multiples of their income is simply unrealistic. if we are happy with a Rosenberg type league (or the same 3/4 teams at the top) then stick with the current model if not then change is needed.

    The cyclical change of the success in the past no longer applies given the increased European money. For 'foreign investor' put 'UEFA prize money' and you have a very clear distorting affect.
    Bohemian FC The Big Club since 1890

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    This lack of parity is not unusual across Europe. Rosenburg, Copenhagen being obvious examples (and presumably the modest model for the LOI).
    Obviously that doesn't mean its desirable but how inevitable is it...?
    As has been pointed out the last 10 years has had a degree of diversity and that didnt mean anything.
    One big problem is the lack of "professionalism" in the League from the top down and including the clubs.
    How many are full time? How many clubs can we reasonable expect to be full time etc with the current state of affairs? Another is that Irish society just isn't bothered. The crowds are not there so how does subsidizing underachieving and unambitious clubs by punishing successful ones solve the Leagues problems.

    On the other hand it could be argued that since winning the league and winning UEFA places automatically gaurentees a minimum of European money that we simply include that in the metric when calculating prize money...

    1 110,000 + 800,000
    2 55,000 + ?500,000?
    3 35,000 + ????
    4 25,000 etc
    5 21,000
    6 19,500
    7 18,500
    8 18,000
    9 18,000
    10 17,500
    11 17,000
    12 17,000

    So when viewed that way its perhaps not that the most unreasonable suggestion.
    But there should almost certainly be some stipulations. The money is part of the package that comes with representing the clubs at a European level and is gona grab headlines in Ireland if even modest success follows. They deserve that money so if a small percentage is given off in "solidarity" with other clubs it should be for also representing the League in the community or other initiatives

    Receiving money off the backs of successful Irish clubs should require a full time set up? year long contracts (are Bohs in trouble now for their success in IRN Bru cup? a win here and some support from the League lends our league a degree of credibility...?).

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    Seasoned Pro Nesta99's Avatar
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    Is there any other examples of business that give a 40 week contract, for example, at a higher weekly rate so that employees can draw social welfare for 12 weeks (leading a higher annual better income overall) rather than offering an the same contract payed for 52 weeks at the slightly lesser weekly amount. Its not illegal but slightly suspect especially if a player is registered with the same club beyond 1 season. Is this what happens in many cases or have I got that wrong? I know it suits clubs as the bulk of income is over the league season but in terms of credibility is a bit suss. It only really flags up when a season is extended for a club like Dundalk 2016 though players are now on 52 week contracts, and possibly Bohs in the Irn-Bru Cup. Do sports people still get tax exemptions too these days or was that done away with?
    LoI clubs' annually increasing income from Europe getting a proportion shared, well I'd all be for (whenever it happens that Dundalk are in the doldurms again of course ;p) but if anything like this were to happen it should be a ring fenced part of a budget. Dundalk are a current example of where aspects of the club are being neglected while players are getting top LoI wages, this wouldnt be unusual league wide in various ways - increased income is always good but it can just paper over cracks too. This isnt a swipe at anyone but bar Sligo the better facilities in the league were mostly provided externally to LoI and in the absence of proper direction by the FAI be it youth/coach/ground development, compulsory 52 week contracts, proper club admin or whatever the money skimmed from European participants and distributed league wide needs to be a targeted allocation imo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nesta99 View Post
    Is there any other examples of business that give a 40 week contract, for example, at a higher weekly rate so that employees can draw social welfare for 12 weeks
    Teachers on fixed term contracts maybe (not sure, are there any teachers on here that can confirm or deny?)?

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    Lots of businesses do it in Dublin not so much for 9 months in the year but more like people choose to work 3 days a week and get the dole keep benefits etc

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    Banned. Children Banned. Grandchildren Banned. 3 Months. Charlie Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbgawa View Post
    Lots of businesses do it in Dublin not so much for 9 months in the year but more like people choose to work 3 days a week and get the dole keep benefits etc
    Well clubs can do the same. Players aren't paid by the hour, obviously, but if a player earns below a certain threshhold they're entitled to social welfare assistance (but most would either be too young, in education or have a day job).

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    First Team marinobohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nesta99 View Post
    Is there any other examples of business that give a 40 week contract, for example, at a higher weekly rate so that employees can draw social welfare for 12 weeks (leading a higher annual better income overall) rather than offering an the same contract payed for 52 weeks at the slightly lesser weekly amount. Its not illegal but slightly suspect especially if a player is registered with the same club beyond 1 season. Is this what happens in many cases or have I got that wrong? I know it suits clubs as the bulk of income is over the league season but in terms of credibility is a bit suss. It only really flags up when a season is extended for a club like Dundalk 2016 though players are now on 52 week contracts, and possibly Bohs in the Irn-Bru Cup. Do sports people still get tax exemptions too these days or was that done away with?
    LoI clubs' annually increasing income from Europe getting a proportion shared, well I'd all be for (whenever it happens that Dundalk are in the doldurms again of course ;p) but if anything like this were to happen it should be a ring fenced part of a budget. Dundalk are a current example of where aspects of the club are being neglected while players are getting top LoI wages, this wouldnt be unusual league wide in various ways - increased income is always good but it can just paper over cracks too. This isnt a swipe at anyone but bar Sligo the better facilities in the league were mostly provided externally to LoI and in the absence of proper direction by the FAI be it youth/coach/ground development, compulsory 52 week contracts, proper club admin or whatever the money skimmed from European participants and distributed league wide needs to be a targeted allocation imo.
    Loads of jobs now provide atypical contracts, either short term - teachers, catering, hotel, retail etc etc (any job that is less than fulltime - previously was measured at <20 hours per week which was based on Social Welfare entitlements. indeed the whole zero hour contract issue (no guaranteed hours per week - called in on an 'as required' basis) is a major employment issue across a number of sectors. the traditional 40 hour, mon-Fri working week would now be the exception rather than the norm
    Anyone, irrespective of occupation is entitled to social welfare payments as long as they meet the relevant criteria.The 'off season' in which they would not be paid would be classed as lay off and accordingly they would be entitled to payment from social welfare.
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    First Team marinobohs's Avatar
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    I think any redistribution of European money (if it were to happen) would have to be ring fenced for specific purposes, ground development, youth development, promotion of the league etc. This would have longer tem positive implications for the league above just 'leveling the playing pitch'.One of the biggest blights on the LOI, and in my opinion one of the major things holding it back has been the 'me fein' attitude of all clubs, a central fund to improve the league overall would be a welcome development.
    Bohemian FC The Big Club since 1890

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    Seasoned Pro Nesta99's Avatar
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    Thats what i said above lol

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