FAI to seek financial support from government for Airtricity League

Association is expected to announce Bank of Ireland as a league sponsor on Thursday

FAI headquarters at Abbotstown. Photo: Inpho

FAI headquarters at Abbotstown. Photo: Inpho

 

The FAI is due to meet with Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers on Thursday afternoon when the association will provide updates on Euro2020, its own governance reform and seek financial support for the Airtricity League.

The association, which is expected to formally announce Bank of Ireland as a sponsor of the league on Thursday, committed €3.6 million to help clubs get through the coming season earlier this week on top of which clubs are availing of the wider government wage support schemes.

There is, however, a belief on the part of some clubs that further financial aid will be required if an entire season is to be completed in the absence of crowds and widespread disagreement over how the available funds should be distributed.

FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill said on Wednesday that discussions are “ongoing” with regard to the level of public financial support that might be provided for the coming year while the Government and Sport Ireland have been in discussions with various National Governing Bodies, including the FAI, about how different levels of their sports can be restarted as health restrictions are eased over the coming months.

With crowds at games all but certain to be completely ruled out in March, Irish under-21 manager Jim Crawford says he is hoping that the scheduling of his side’s European Championship qualifying home games against the group’s two top seeds for November will mean that there will be supporters in the ground.

“It was certainly in our thinking to have Italy and Sweden in Ireland when the turnstiles could be open and it would be a brilliant opportunity for the Irish public to see this talented group of players take on two of the top teams in the world,” he said as the fixtures were confirmed on Wednesday. “It would be a big boost for the players to have fans there.”

St Patrick’s Athletic have signed 19-year-old goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros from Liverpool on loan for the coming season. The Czech underage international, who spent the first half of the English campaign training with the first team at Liverpool and made the bench for three of the club’s Champions League group matches, is expected to start as the Dublin club’s first choice when the season gets under way in mid-March.

“I need a challenge,” said the teenager, who was part of Liverpool’s Youth Cup winning team under Steven Gerrard a couple of years back, “and St Patrick’s Athletic is a great opportunity for me to get into men’s football and start playing.”

Bohemians, meanwhile, have signed former Rangers and Celtic midfielder Liam Burt, a Scottish under-21 international whose second spell with the league champions there ended last year.

Gerardo Bruna, once of Real Madrid and Liverpool but more recently Derry City, has signed for Shelbourne and Ethan Boyle has returned to Finn Harps from Linfield.

Under-21 Championship Qualifying game schedule: 2021: Sept 3rd: Bosnia & Herzegovina (A); Sept 7th: Luxembourg (A); Oct 8: Luxembourg (H); Oct 12th: Montenegro (A); Nov 12: Italy (H); Nov 16th: Sweden (H). 2022: March 29th: Sweden (A); June 3rd: Bosnia & Herzegovina (H); June 6: Montenegro (H); June 14th: Italy (A).

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