Niall Quinn calls for TV rights for Irish domestic soccer to be sold abroad

Former international says FAI must look at new ways to generate clubs’ revenue

Chris Kamara and Niall Quinn  in Dublin to launch Sky Sports’ Premier League coverage. “You have to start and say: can we envisage seeing Shamrock Rovers playing Bohemians with a good crowd at the match, and you’re in a bar in Kenya,” said Quinn.  Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Chris Kamara and Niall Quinn in Dublin to launch Sky Sports’ Premier League coverage. “You have to start and say: can we envisage seeing Shamrock Rovers playing Bohemians with a good crowd at the match, and you’re in a bar in Kenya,” said Quinn. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Selling domestic television rights to foreign countries is the key way in which to positively develop soccer in Ireland – along with a change in what the country’s governing body stands for, according to Niall Quinn.

The Irish World Cup veteran yesterday outlined his vision for League of Ireland games to be sold to countries around the world where television stations are short of sports content.

He also believes the FAI need to change their mentality and put the development of young players to the fore and not just exist “to go on trips in blazers”.

Quinn believes the age-old question of how to improve the League of Ireland doesn’t hinge on pumping money into new stadiums but rather on making it a global product, thereby increasing clubs’ revenue through television deals.

The FAI are currently conducting a large-scale survey into the League of Ireland – the results of which are due later this month – and Quinn thinks that they need to start by looking at selling the product on show.

“Whatever comes about of this task force set up to look at it, you have to start and say: `can we envisage seeing Shamrock Rovers playing Bohemians with a good crowd at the match, and you're in a bar in Kenya'." he said.

The ropes

Quinn was speaking at Sky Sports’ launch of their 2015/16 Premier League coverage in Dublin yesterday.

The 48-year-old certainly knows the ropes when it comes to the business side of the game having previously sat on the board of the Irish Sports Council as well as his role as Sunderland chairman in the early 2000s.

Keen to express his respect for the domestic game in Ireland, the former Arsenal and Manchester City striker believes the FAI need to change the way it views the grassroots side of the game.

Rather than it being linked to the senior international side or senior National League sides, Quinn thinks there has to be a complete separation between the youth game, the senior game and the corporate side of the game.

A first-class education within the game is what’s needed for young players.

Quinn said that that can be provided for players if the League of Ireland is made strong enough to withstand the pull of the English game for Ireland’s brightest young prospects.

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