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Proposal for renovation of the association football league

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Proposal for renovation of the association football league Proposal for renovation of the association football league Presentation Transcript

  • Proposal for Radical overhaul of the Association Football league structure
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    1
  • Introduction
    Genesis II
    It is recognised that the Genesis II report & the subsequent implementation process has injected a new level of ambition into the domestic game with regards to professionalism, licensing, holistic vision etc.
    However like most ambitious projects it is prudent to review progress after a period and alter course as required, taking account of lessons learned.
    Pyramid needed
    Although successful with regard to squad development the ‘A’ league is judged insufficient as a third Tier
    A proposal is made to integrate Intermediate football with the LOI proper. Acting as a safety net allowing relegated clubs & clubs facing administration to move down to regional leagues where costs are minimised & an element of competition is retained (unlike current ‘A’ league).
    A ‘National Playoff’ system is envisaged as both an incentive for the development of the Intermediate game & a route into the LOI proper for ambitious teams.
    No team shall go straight to the LOI Proper but must achieve it organically through the structure.
    Winter Football
    A ‘Compromise Solution’ is proposed which would allow a partial return to winter football as well as a significant ‘lead up time’ before European Football
    Encompasses a ‘Xmas Soccer Season’ as a marketable finale to the season with the last round of Premier games taking place on St. Stephens day followed by the FAI Cup Final on New Years Day
    Major Reform!!!
    The reforms proposed in this document taken together are very substantial in both reach and measure.
    The intention is to put this vision to consultation & gauge reaction of the various stakeholders in Irish Football.
    Reforms can be carried out on the whole, partially or in stages & indeed the order of said stages can be flexible.
    Further research is required concerning all of the issues highlighted & changes proposed in this presentation, as well as with regard to how they may be implemented. i.e. All scheduling outlined is for modelling purposes only & much more in depth analysis with regard to both viability & procedure is envisaged prior to implementation.
    2
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
  • Three Tier System
    Tier 1: 18 Team Premier
    It is hoped to grow the Premier division gradually to a max. 18 teams allowing for a 34 round league with all of the most recognisable teams playing each other twice.
    Tier 2: 10 Team Championship
    36 rounds of football
    Evenly matched opposition
    Avoid current scenario where new entrants like Mervue etc have no chance of progression
    Tier3: National Intermediate Structure
    Northern, Southern , Eastern, Western & Central ‘Conference’ Divisions
    Relegated 1st division teams will enter competitive regional divisions; with reduced travel costs & scaled down squads they may retain their fanbases & recover slowly i.e. Cases like Kilkenny City etc. wouldn’t have to die, just rescale.
    Teams breaking licensing & administration rules can suffer real punishment being relegated down the divisions as far as Intermediate football
    Tier 3a: National Intermediate Playoffs
    Funding/prize money/media attention source for Intermediate football
    Promotion & Relegation to 1st Div
    Monetary Incentive for teams to qualify to playoffs from respective divisions making leagues more competitive
    Requires Major Scheduling Changes!!
    Both LOI proper & Intermediate to finish in December
    Intermediate starts earlier (Feb) but takes a summer break
    See Slides 10 & 11 for scheduling details
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    3
  • 4
    Tier 1
    Tier 2
    Tier 3a
    Tier 3
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
  • Premiership
    • 18 Team Elite National Division
    • 34 rounds of games
    • Glamour teams/ties
    • Larger attendances
    • 1 home & 1 away fixture p.a.
    • Gradual expansion to reach 18
    • Placings
    • Winner - Champions League
    • Places 2 & 3 – Europa League
    • Places 1-6: Qualification for enhanced Setanta Cup, or “byes” in other cup competitions
    • Keep more teams “in the mix” longer into the season
    • 2 automatic promotion/relegation places p.a.
    • Affording more 1st Div teams opportunity of entry to lucrative top division
    • 2 teams enter relegation playoff
    • Keep more teams “in the mix”
    • Loser of 15 vs.16 (Prem) plays winner of 3 vs. 4 (1st)
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    5
  • National Championship
    • 10 Team Nationwide Feeder Division
    • 36 rounds of games
    • Wide geographical spread
    • Newcomers to the LOI proper are more likely to collect points in this evenly matched division
    • Top 4 of 10 positions “in play”
    • ‘Carrot’ of a lucrative season in the Premier is attainable without risky financial (mis)management
    • 2 home & 2 away fixtures p.a.
    • Relegation keeps all places competitive
    • Possibility of further expansion in the future should the game grow in popularity / participation / attendance.
    • Placings
    • Automatic Promotion: Winner & Runner-up
    • Places 3 & 4: Promotion Playoffs
    • Last: Automatic Relegation: in the event of a qualified licensed club winning the Conferences Playoffs
    Relegation Playoff: in the event of a qualified licensed club finishing runner up in the Conference playoffs to a non-qualified winner
    • Places 8 & 9: Relegation Playoff: in the event of a qualified licensed club finishing runner up in the Conference playoffs to an automatically promoted & qualified winner. Loser of 8 vs. 9 will play said runner up for 1st Div status
    • Max of 2 teams relegated
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    6
  • Regional Intermediate Conferences
    Part 1: Create North, South, East, West & Central Conferences
    East: Largest conference formed from LSL & other eastern teams wishing to apply
    South: Formed from MSL
    North: Formed from USL
    Central: Formed from CCFL + L/M/C & DL
    West: Formed from clubs in Galway, Mayo, Roscommon Sligo & Leitrim
    Clubs may choose to play in a conference outside of their geographical region, bearing in mind they will have to travel more & may find qualification to playoffs more difficult. i.e. LSL clubs from the Central region may continue in East if they so wish
    Clubs may even field separate teams in different conferences, however only 1 team from each club may enter the National Playoffs (Higher nominated team e.g. Supposing Port Laoise A (East) & Port Laoise B (Central) were to qualify only the nominated A team could progress)
    National Playoffs
    To act as both a carrot and a prize money source, supporting & encouraging clubs from the sparser regions (e.g. Connaught, rural Munster & rural Midlands) to enter & compete at an Intermediate level
    8 Qualifiers – See overleaf
    Part 2: Changeover of season (see slide11 for timelines)
    Switching from a continuous August to May season to a two part February to December season
    Allowing for Promotion & Relegation to the National 1st Division should clubs so wish
    There are numerous obstacles & challenges with regards to bringing about these sorts of changes to the intermediate league structure, not least convincing the numerous relevant stakeholders, scheduling a two part league ending in the winter time & travel costs, amongst others. However it is hoped that the incentive of a marketable national competition structure may, after further study & consultation, provide the impetus to achieve this vision. The changeover process can be designed to build this project to completion in stages.
    7
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
  • 8
    Regional Conferences
    • Five Geographical Conferences
    • East – (3 qualifiers)
    • Largest Conference
    • Most playoff spots
    • Applicant teams
    • Saturday/Sunday lower divisions?
    • Applicants from AUL & other leagues?
    • Lose some sides to Central?
    • South – (2 qualifiers)
    • Strong, established MSL
    • Attract new sides from further afield
    • North – (1 qualifier)
    • Well established USL
    • Little structural change required
    • West – (1 qualifier)
    • Need to form new intermediate division
    • Site of defunct CSL
    • Bedding down of Intermediate division here to require close support & attention of authorities
    • Central – (1 qualifier)
    • Inside LSL at moment
    • Reduced geographical spread to make step up to intermediate more viable
    • Bedding down of Intermediate division here to require close support & attention of authorities
    • ***Restructure of scheduling & structure are separate issues***
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
  • National Conference Playoff Series
    8 Team National Playoff competition
    Held over 3 match days (1 week)
    Staged over Xmas period before cup final – Part of Xmas soccer season
    Matches held in regional stadia closest to home team (Tallaght, Turners Cross, Terryland, Athlone, Brandywell)
    Can be expanded to 16 teams across 4 match days
    Qualification from 5 Regional Intermediate Conferences
    North, South, East, West & Central
    Weighting to take account of stronger regions:
    East - 3 teams, South - 2,North -1 ,West - 1 & Central - 1
    Or for example: E6,S4,N2,W2,C2 in expanded format
    Winning team gains automatic promotion to Div 1 (Subject to desire of club for promotion, fulfilment of licensing criteria etc.)
    Runner-up eligible for playoff with second bottom team in Div 1 (Subject to desire of club for promotion, fulfilment of licensing criteria etc.)
    Clubs may enter & win prize money without any intentions towards promotion
    Opportunity for local & national media exposure, sponsorship, supporter buzz etc.
    Income source to invest as clubs see fit e.g. Training facilities, clubhouse, bars, stands etc.
    Clear route to become recognised ‘National Intermediate Champion’ with minimal burden of nationwide travel
    Shop window/advancement route/scouting possibilities for ambitious young intermediate players/coaches
    Meaningful national competition for LOI standard players unable to commit to nationwide travel in Div 1 due to work commitments etc.
    Provides incentive towards participation/ambition at intermediate level outside of current soccer strongholds
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    9
  • National Playoffs
    10
    • 8 Intermediate teams
    • 3 from Eastern, 2 from Southern, 1 from Northern, Western & Central Conferences
    • 3 game series held over1 week
    • Part of “Xmas Soccer Season”
    • Winner gains automatic promotion to 1st Div
    • Runner Up gains entry to a playoff against loser of (8th vs. 9th) in 1st Div
    • Teams do not have to be seeking advancement to LOI proper in order to participate
    vs.
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
  • The Winter Compromise
    • May – December season
    • 2 Months competitive football & preseason before European competitions begin
    • Flood Lit atmospheric Football
    • Season Climax over Xmas period
    • Climax doesn’t clash With GAA Championship
    • Clear identification “Festive Soccer Season”
    • Branding & Sponsorship opportunities
    • Tie in with Intermediate Playoffs & Cup Final (New Years Day)
    • Clash with major English Premiership television events
    • Can Marquee games rival normal EPL games on these dates?
    • Will RTE welcome major products like St. Stephens Day Finale & New Years Day Cup Final for free to air broadcast as a challenge to satellite broadcasters?
    • Will crowds attend major LOI games over the festive period?
    • Other Risk Factors:
    • Congestion issues surrounding abandoned games
    • There may be sense in frontloading games in the summer months to allow leeway around abandoned games towards season finale.
    • Deterioration in football quality
    • ‘Messy’ football towards the end of the season could damage the product
    • May also ‘make things interesting’ – Shock results, Battling performances, points gap swings.
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    11
  • *Synchronised League Systems*
    Play offs
    Schoolboy & Junior System (as before)
    Schoolboy & Junior System (as before) - Finish
    Start - Intermediate & Junior Season
    Pre -
    season
    Current Airtricity League Season (2010)
    Start - Schoolboy & Junior System (as before)
    Current Airtricity League Season 2010
    Cup
    Final
    Cup
    Final
    Pre –
    season
    Proposed Airtricity League Season (2012 or 2013)
    Cup
    Final
    _________________________________________________________________________
    • Current Scheduling arrangements:
    2009
    2010
    2011
    2010
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Proposed Scheduling Changes:
    Late summer & autumn National League System
    2 months competitive football + Preseason to prepare for European competition
    Xmas/Stephens day league Finale & New Years Day Cup Final (Marketing: Festive season = LOI season!)
    TV money? Domestic rival(marquee games!!) to compete with Cross channel Xmas packages? (Allow terrestrial TV to compete with Satellite TV)
    Intermediate leagues: National Playoffs (late Dec) & Fallow Period Introduced (Jan)
    Series 1 matches Feb-May & Series 2 matches Aug-Dec(flexible scheduling arrangements at local level)
    2014
    2015
    2015
    2016
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    12
  • Christmas Soccer Season
    Culmination of LOI proper, FAI Ford Cup & Intermediate Conferences Playoff Series.
    Bundled together in one marketable package
    ‘Run-in’ period is traditionally when the league receives most ‘buzz’
    Key periods for advertisers: Run up to Christmas & January sales (Cars etc)
    Drawbacks/Risk Factors
    Short turnaround between league end & Cup Final of only 1 week
    Same as in England in May 2010
    Winter games risks match abandonment
    Need to frontload season to ensure no backlog
    Winter football could lead to exciting points swings as well as ‘messy football’
    Supporter turnout/TV Audiences
    Could go either way; be embraced as an exciting package over a period of holidays from employment or pass by barely noticed while public is immersed in own Christmas experience
    Marketing effort & product positioning could be ‘make or break’ in this regard
    Christmas Soccer Season
    Wed Dec23rd 19:30Round 1 of Conference Playoffs (4 Games)
    Thurs Dec 24th No Games
    Fri Dec 25th No Games
    Sat Dec 26th17:309x Premier Games (Round 34) & 5x 1st Div Games (Round 36)
    Sun Dec 27th 19:30Round 2 of Conference Playoffs (2 Games)
    Mon Dec 28th No Games
    Tues Dec 29th 19:30Premier & 1st Div Playoff deciders (1 leg)
    Wed Dec 30th 19:30Conference Playoffs Final
    Thurs Dec 31st No Games
    Fri Jan 1st 15:30 FAI Ford Cup Final
    SatJan 2nd15:00(&17:30)Promotion/Relegation Playoff Finals (1 leg)
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    13
  • Automatic National Playoff Qualification
    Eastern Conference
    Promotion/Qualification Playoff
    • Formed from a number of strong leagues
    • Difficult to bring along all stakeholders
    • Politically difficult to change
    • What % of club buy-in?
    • Incentives
    • Annual National Champion Decided
    • Avenue to attain sponsorship, attention & recognition
    • Players & Coaches in ‘shop window’ (UEFA Licensing standards)
    • Club Development
    • Pitfalls
    • Splits? – Some teams to play in Central
    Others to remain outside new format?
    Relegation Playoff
    Automatic Relegation
    Eastern Conference
    Premier Div
    14
    Top of group placing
    Bottom of group placing
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
  • Eastern Conference
    • ‘A’Sides – 2 options
    • 1 – Play in Regional Intermediate Leagues
    • Pro
    • Reserve players experience very competitive football
    • They would greatly strengthen some leagues e.g. Western & Central, helping to raise standards
    • Incentive for intermediate players to compete against ‘big name’ teams
    • Con
    • Risking injury recovery ‘stars’ against intermediate players wanting ‘to get stuck in’
    • Would disciplined intermediate teams be happy about a “chopped & changed” reserve side affecting the outcome of the league standings
    • 2 – Play in Completely separate ‘A’ only league
    • Pro
    • Sheltered environment to protect players
    • Con
    • Lacking in realistic competitive nature
    St. Patricks Athletic ‘A’
    Shelbourne ‘A’
    Eastern 2nd Div
    Eastern1st Div
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    15
  • Eastern Conference
    • Lower Divisions
    • Promotion / Relegation
    • Multiple finishing positions “In Play”
    • Scheduling, Discipline, league operation
    • Managed at local level
    • More leeway at lower levels (fixture congestion, postponements, arrangements etc.)
    • Refereeing
    • Integration into pyramid structure
    • Player Registration
    • Player passport ID card scheme
    Eastern 3rd Div
    Eastern 4th Div
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    16
    • Entry & Exit to/from Conference
    • TBD
    • Involve local committee structure
    • Assessments – competency, performance etc.
    • Changeover required to standard season
  • Southern Conference
    • Formed from MSL
    • 2 qualification places for national playoffs
    • New format to encourage applicants from outside of current strongholds
    • Minimal change required to current structure
    With only 3 full LOI clubs at present & 2 more in the ‘A’
    structure this conference has great potential for the
    future development of clubs to a national level
    Established MSL sides not wishing to compete on a
    national stage have an opportunity to perform well at
    the national playoff level & then reinvest in club
    facilities
    Southern Conference
    Premier Div
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    17
  • Southern Conference
    • Lower Levels
    • Similar to lower divisions of the eastern conference structure
    • Managed/Administrated at a local level
    • Flexible operation
    • Entry/Exit to Junior structures subject to local authorities, criteria etc.
    • Newly formed Clubs
    • Local administration structures to decide level of entry / suitability etc.
    Southern 2nd Div
    Southern 1st Div
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    18
  • Northern Conference
    • Formed from USL
    • Minimal change required to current structure
    • Expected to provide strong competitor to National Playoffs
    • Source of funding for the further development of facilities in the region
    Although the viability of a further LOI proper club
    emerging from this region may be remote it is
    thought that participation in this annual competition
    will benefit the local division, with prize money
    filtering down into local facilities as well as media
    exposure providing a boost to the game.
    Northern Conference
    Premier Div
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    19
  • Western Conference
    • Newly formed from Local district leagues
    • Site of the defunct CSL
    • A new administration structure will have to be formed with support & impetus from central sources
    • Application & Selection process from local district leagues
    • To represent a balanced geographical spread, established strong clubs with developmental outlooks
    • Extensive consultation required
    Although past attempts to establish a senior football
    structure in the region were previously abandoned it is
    hoped that the carrot of competition & exposure at a
    national level may provide the impetus and attract
    interest & sponsorship sufficiently to affect a better
    outcome this time. This region could have good
    potential for growth given astute adaptations to the
    local game.
    Western Conference
    Premier Div
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    20
  • Central Conference
    • Newly Formed Region
    • Clubs currently competing in the LSL encouraged
    • CCFL & other local structures to be developed
    • Remain part of LFA
    • Travel & participation costs lower than at LSL level
    • Clubs can choose to compete in any regional conference, taking account of travel costs, competition standards etc. E.g. Meath clubs could choose between Central or Eastern (Subject to approval of governing bodies)
    A central conference it is envisaged would cut down
    on participation costs and encourage the ‘step-up’
    from a number of towns which show the potential to
    host LOI proper clubs. Growing clubs organically in
    this fashion it is hoped will lead to advancement of
    clubs with a deeper history, participation etc.
    Consultation is required before any move away from
    the traditional Leinster structures.
    Central Conference
    Premier Div
    21
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
  • National Playoffs
    vs.
    vs.
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    22
  • Changeover Timeline
    Season 1 (2012) March - Oct
    LOI Proper: Premier Division: 10 Clubs - 1st Div: 12 Clubs (36 & 33 games)
    1 to be demoted from Premier(10), 3 to be promoted from 1st(1,2 & 3), (9 vs. 4 in playoff)
    Top 2 Qualified development sides to be promoted from ‘A’ League to 1st Div
    Intermediates: Last Intermediate season under present structure begins. (Aug - May)
    Winter transition: New arrangements decided in committee for Intermediate conferences based on league position & other criteria
    Mini tournaments & playoffs to decide certain positions
    Season 2 (2013) May - Dec
    LOI proper: Premier Division: 12 Clubs - 1st Div: 12 Clubs (33 games ea.)
    2 to be demoted from Premier (11,12), 3 to be promoted from 1st(1,2 & 3), (10 vs. 4 in playoff)
    Top 2 Qualified development sides to be promoted from ‘A’ League to 1st Div
    Intermediates: First ever season under new format . (Feb – May; Aug – Dec)
    December Playoffs: 8 teams, 3 match days, Games in regional stadiums (Tallaght, Turners Cross, Terryland, Athlone etc.)
    Season 3 (2014) May - Dec
    LOI proper: Premier Division: 13 Clubs - 1st Div: 13 Clubs (36 games ea.)
    1 to be demoted from Premier(13), 6 to be promoted from 1st(1-6), (12 vs. 7 in playoff)
    2 top Qualified Intermediate sides to be promoted from playoffs (or conferences)
    Season 4 (2015) – ***1st Season Proper***
    LOI proper: Premier Division: 18 Clubs - 1st Div: 10 Clubs (34 & 36 games)
    Standard future promotion/relegation: 2 up(1&2), 2 Down(17&18) & 1 playoff : [(15v16) vs. (3v4)]
    Intermediates: Standard future promotion/relegation with 1st Div
    Playoff winner (if Qualified) gains automatic promotion to 1st at expense of 10th place finisher
    Playoff Runner-up (if Qualified) can advance to playoff vs. (8v9) from 1st Div
    Qualified: Qualified sides must satisfy licensing criteria, express a desire to advance to full league status & display a competence with regard to the additional travel commitments, rigid fixture completion etc.
    23
  • Transition from Intermediate to Div 1
    • Transition after LOI proper has reached 28 clubs
    Clubs must apply for transition before the season begins
    Clubs must satisfy licensing criteria
    Clubs must reach National Conference Playoffs
    The winner of the national playoffs can be eligible for automatic promotion subject to all other licensing application criteria
    The Runner-Up in the national playoffs can enter into a head to head playoff with a Div 1 side, subject to all other licensing criteria
    24
    • Transition while LOI proper is in development phase
    Max. 2 clubs per annum
    Highest finishers in current competition e.g. ‘A’ League
    Satisfaction of licensing criteria
    Subject to ratification & extra assessment measures
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
  • Reserve - ‘A’ Teams
    Present Scenario (Newstalk A Championship)
    ‘A’ league + selected Intermediate teams(Applying for league status) compete together in Northern & Southern divisions
    Pro:
    Good environment to nurture young talent & rehabilitate injured players
    Successful fallback for financially pressed clubs forced to lay off 1st team squad
    Con:
    Can clubs relegated to this division from Div1 ever recover? – Will they lose hope of making it in the LOI proper – forced to remain competing against experimental ‘A’ sides
    Very few developmental intermediate applicants
    Has failed to capture the imagination of supporters of intermediate applicants clubs
    2 divisions across large geographical spread = high travel expenses
    Option1 (scenario outlined above)
    Compete with Intermediate teams in Area Conferences (N,S,E,W & C)
    Pros:
    Provide good competition in smaller & newer leagues (Western, Central & Northern) – helping to develop germinating intermediate clubs in these peripheral areas
    Less Travelling expenses for clubs
    Competition versus Intermediate sides helps to identify new talent
    Con:
    Risking peripheral & recovering players in a competitive environment (Will intermediate competitors ‘get stuck into’ marquee players who are recovering from injury?)
    Insurance issues??
    Option 2 (Safe option)
    Separate ‘A’ only competition
    National at first, dividing into regions as numbers increase
    Pro:
    Developmental League applicant clubs could remain separate in competitive Intermediate competition
    Insulated environment to nurture injured & young players
    Con:
    Will a reserve only league provide an adequate level of competition to aid player development?
    25
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
  • Club Stories
    Club A
    Club A has been a big player in the league for generations. However after a period of overextension financially they find themselves forced to enter a period of debt restructuring that is in contravention of the leagues participation agreements. Under new processes that are pursuant to newly ratified rules they find themselves relegated to their local intermediate conference & banned from re-entry to the top divisions for a set period of time. The new rules also contain provision to extend that period of time for repeat offences. It is felt that the new disciplinary processes for the first time provide adequate deterrent against financial mismanagement in the pursuit of success.
    Club B
    Club B has been one of the strongest in its provincial senior league for a long time and regularly makes excursions into the FAI Cup early rounds. Under the new national playoff system they fare very well; making the final on numerous occasions & even picking up the trophy from time to time. Club B is however from a locality that has long been dominated by a major premier league side. Choosing never to apply for league entry or fulfil the 1st Div licensing criteria Club B is able to make use of its prize money & exposure to secure better local sponsorship deals & in turn reinvest in the clubs training & social facilities.
    Club C
    Club C is from a rapidly growing satellite town near a major city. They have competed to a decent level in the provincial senior league in recent times without ever reaching the top of the pile. With the attention brought about under the new national playoffs they are able to secure local sponsorship & participation in their club. Within a few years they are challenging for honours at the national playoffs as well as reinvesting in club infrastructure. Local support for the club grows organically along with the club, unlike past teams that were parachuted into the top divisions. Eventually they secure a Div 1 license and qualify for the National Championship. Club C spends a short time yo-yoing between Div 1 & the intermediate divisions but their natural growth curve ensures they are a solid enough outfit to survive the rollercoaster. Over time they come to establish themselves in the 1st Div and even spend a lucrative couple of seasons in the top Tier hosting some of the big guns.
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    26
  • Club Stories
    Club D
    Club D had been a participant in the old ‘A’ league hoping to gain 1st Div status. Apart from a few ‘die-hards’ within the club setup they never raised much of a profile in their local town or county which was more known for success in other sporting codes. Playing against ‘A’ sides never attracted much local attention & in turn the club was unable to generate much revenue in terms of membership, sponsorship or other income streams. Even when they did spend a year in the old 1st Div they found themselves cut adrift away from the rest of the pack, unable to pick up victories against established teams. Entry into the reformed 1st Div feeder style Championship did manage to turn things around nevertheless. Suddenly facing more similarly matched opponents & with the promotion & relegation spots always within play interest in Club D grew rapidly within the community. Success eventually did come in the form of promotion to the Premiership & for the first time some of the countries big name clubs were coming to town. On the other hand when things weren’t quite going so smoothly the club found itself in its local regional conference where the fans still had local derbies, fierce competition & the push for promotion to keep interest high, reduced travel costs also meant the club could cope better with these periods of want.
    Club E
    Club E, hailing from the same county as club D was raised with the tide alongside its near neighbour. Although never quite reaching the same dizzy heights Club E did manage to fulfil the 1st Div licensing criteria & compete for a short period of time in Div 1. The intense feeling of the local rivalry between two towns from the same county added a new element to the LOI which contrasted greatly with previous attempts to take local clubs & shape them into catch-alls for the whole county. They would meet regularly in either Div 1 or their regional conference as well as in cup competitions.
    Club F
    Club F had spent a few years cast aside at the bottom of Div 1 picking up only a handful of victories a season, relegation to the ‘A’ league threatened to kill dead their LOI ambitions. Seen as falling into a kind of “limbo”, hope drained from the club. It was revived however upon establishment of regional conferences as a means of promotion. Now they were able to find meaningful local competition, to save on travel & other overheads & to rebuild with a young side. Club F eventually re-entered the now more evenly devised Championship, their flagging ambitions truly revived.
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    27
  • Player Stories
    Player A
    Player A showed great promise as a youngster playing in the Airtricity Premiership while he earned his degree as part of a scholarship initiative run by one of the clubs. After his education was complete & upon taking up good employment outside football at the same time as starting a family it seemed Player A was to be lost to the game, unable to provide the required level of commitment required of a team competing on a national level. Still playing at intermediate level he drew many compliments from others that he was, “better than a lot of players in the LOI.” Under the new structure Player A found a new role for himself as a cornerstone of the ambitious Club B as they made their assault on promotion to the league proper. Although Club B could only pay a nominal amount of part time wages & also the fact that player A would have to leave the setup once they “went national”, he found the meaningful competition invigorating. After leaving them he found a place on the next ambitious high-flyer in the regional conference. He even rejoined as a Div 1 player a little later in life as his full time job grew more secure & flexible & his young family had settled at school.
    Player B
    Player B was on the road to great things in the English game before injury put a spanner in the works. Loaned from his EPL team to lower divisions to try & prove his return to fitness Player B eventually had to concede defeat & quit the game he loved so well. With a handful of promising full international caps to his name it appeared to be a sad end to the tale as the player returned to his local village to take up employment in the family business & reconsider his future. Too young to be seriously considered as a professional coach Player B nonetheless began to take his badges and work with his local regional conference team as a sideline apart from his main career; his name & experience proving a hit as he took a number of sides to the playoff finals. Catching the attention of his local Div 1 club who used the local Conference as a scouting ground he eventually made his way back into the game he loved so well.
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.
    28
  • Largest Towns outside of LOI Structure (2006 Census)
    Over 10,000 Population
    • Navan(10th)
    • Ennis(11), Shannon(43)
    • Kilkenny(13)
    • Naas(15),Newbridge(17), Kildare(55), Blessington(90)
    • Mullingar(18)
    • Celbridge(22), Leixlip(26), Maynooth(35), Kilcock(87)
    • Clonmel(23), Carrick on Suir (65), Cahir(96)
    • Port Laoise(27), Portarlington(63), Mountmellick(89)
    • Killarney(28)
    • Greystones(29), Kilcoole(99)
    • Arklow(33), Gorey(57)
    • Ballina(36)
    • Wicklow(38)
    • Mallow(37), Fermoy(67)
    • Middleton(39)
    Under 10,000 Population
    • Tramore(40)
    • Enniscorthy(41)
    • Ashbourne(47), Ratoath(56), Dunshaughlin(95)
    • Dungarvan(48)
    • Athy(50)
    • Cavan(51)
    • Nenagh(52)
    • New Ross(53)
    • Thurles(54)
    • Tuam(58)
    • Trim(59)
    • Youghal(60)
    • Ballinasloe(62)
    29
    All illustrations, tables, dates, league positions, logos & sponsors contained within this document are for modelling purposes only & do not represent any approved plans, intentions, decisions or otherwise of the association or any of its committees.