Belfast Telegraph

All-Island League chief Lucid outlines new era

Ambitious plans could see clubs hit a financial jackpot

By Steven Beacom

The man behind the proposals to form a new All-Island League insists he will show clubs from the north and south how his multi-million pound plan is the real deal and that it can transform the game in both countries.

Tech millionaire Kieran Lucid, from Kerry, has invited Northern Ireland's 12 Irish Premiership clubs and Championship sides who have been in the top flight over the past five years to a meeting tomorrow in Dundalk, along with the Republic's 20 League of Ireland teams.

Lucid's idea is bring the Irish League and League of Ireland together in a historic new structure. In presentations, the businessman and his team will aim to prove how a 14-team top tier and two 10-team regionalised leagues would work for all, with the dream to start in 2021.

The plan is to make the 34 clubs up from 20 League of Ireland sides, 12 Irish Premiership outfits and two from the Championship. It is thought the top eight southern and top five northern sides would be in the top division, with the other place determined by a play-off between the First Division champions in the League of Ireland and sixth-placed side in the Premiership.

With estimates that the annual revenue could be £8.5m, Lucid intends to outline details about prize money, television revenue and sponsorship, which would dwarf what clubs currently earn. It is understood a subscription TV company is waiting in the wings with an estimated £1.4m per year package on the table.

"I'm hoping that the clubs on both sides of the border see this is the real deal and how serious the discussions are that we are having from a commercial and broadcast perspective," explained Lucid. "We are kicking off a process. We are hoping this will be the first of periodic meetings and I'm hoping the clubs agree a way to move forward.

"Football is huge on the island of Ireland. It is the biggest sport. It's just that domestic football doesn't have close to that broader football support. We want to change that, and believe we can."

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