Northern Ireland governing body IFA rejects All-Ireland league proposal
Last Updated: 31/10/19 5:17pm
The Irish FA, the governing body for football in Northern Ireland, has confirmed it will not sanction any of its member clubs to take part in an All-Ireland league.
The idea was proposed by businessman Kieran Lucid but the IFA is refusing to get behind the proposal amid fears it may negatively impact European places and prize money for Northern Irish teams.
A statement from the IFA read: "The Irish Football Association has confirmed that it will not sanction any of its member clubs to take part in an all-island (All-Ireland) Football League as proposed by Irish businessman Kieran Lucid.
"Having listened to the proposals from Mr Lucid and his team, we believe the best interests of our member clubs and football in Northern Ireland are better served by remaining with the club-led model established in 2013 via the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL).
"NIFL has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2013 and continues to attract increased sponsorship and funding.
"The present distribution model, unanimously agreed by all clubs, ensures all 12 teams in the Danske Bank Premiership benefit from the prize fund.
"This has created a balanced league which has seen a substantial increase in attendances, awareness and television coverage. The potential income figures quoted in Mr Lucid's proposals are highly speculative and lack specificity or guarantees.
"UEFA competition places, prize monies and youth solidarity funding are important to our clubs and we do not wish to put these in question.
"We greatly value our association and club links with the Football Association of Ireland and are happy to both take part in, and enhance, cross-border cup competitions at all levels.
"We already have the new Unite the Union Champions' Cup, played for between the champions of the Irish League and League of Ireland, the Presidents' Cup for Junior sides in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and a proposed new intermediate level competition."