Belfast Telegraph

All-Island league backers pushing forward with proposal with three-day stakeholder summit

An All-Island cup competition, much like the defunct Setanta Cup, could provide the solution after the Irish FA refused to sanction a 32 county league.
An All-Island cup competition, much like the defunct Setanta Cup, could provide the solution after the Irish FA refused to sanction a 32 county league.

By Daniel McDonnell

The backers of the proposed All-Island league say that plans for their project continue to 'proceed apace' and they have announced a three-day stakeholder summit for later this month.

Kerry businessman Kieran Lucid is driving the plan for a merger of the League of Ireland and Irish League and his group have not been deterred by a statement from the IFA which ruled out sanctioning the involvement of Northern Irish clubs.

His group have engaged Dutch experts Hypercube, who will be present for three days of meetings on January 28-30 in Belfast, Dublin and Dundalk.

Players, coaches, clubs, broadcasters, sponsors, supporters and journalists will be invited to contribute at various intervals.

The Belfast event will be held at the Waterfront Hall on Tuesday, January 28, with players and coaches welcome at 6pm and a fans' section at 7.30pm.

A statement from the group said: "This will be the first of four summits that will take place between late January and late March, the purpose of which is to research the appetite for and viability of cross-border competition as a means of improving the welfare of domestic football.

"We encourage all of those with an interest in the project to join us at the relevant meeting to make your voice heard and to ask questions of the group and Hypercube."

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Irish League clubs Ards, Ballymena and Cliftonville have expressed opposition to the plans but Lucid's group remain encouraged by the continued interest of other clubs north of the border.

They have also outlined their desire to hold more talks with both associations and both governments about their ideas.

Lucid has been in contact with IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson about the northern body's stance towards the concept.

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