OPINION: The Irish 'B' team should be reinstated for League of Ireland players

The 'B' team haven't played since 2008

OPINION: The Irish 'B' team should be reinstated for League of Ireland players

©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan 

If the FAI are genuine in their plans to make our domestic league better for both players and fans, then there needs to be a number of changes made.

A streaming rights deal is a step in the right direction to bring some more money and new viewers into the game, but outside of investing the money domestically, there is another step that they can take.

Other than European campaigns, which are often short-lived, there is no real opportunity for our domestic players to play at a higher level. League of Ireland (LOI) players rarely get called into the senior squad to train, let alone get capped on the international stage.

Reinstating the 'B' team would give these players something to aim for and could even act as a stepping stone to the senior side.

The matches could be played directly before the June and August senior friendlies to expose the players to bigger atmospheres or alternatively the team could be based in one of the regional cities to boost local economies.

Those selected should be paid, and given the chance to train with the senior squad during international friendly breaks.

A Nations Cup consisting of 'B' internationals might generate some interest if the powers that be in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales were of a similar disposition, providing a suitable schedule can be agreed upon.

Aside from that, hosting some of the smaller European nations or teams such as Catalonia, that aren't fully affiliated with UEFA or FIFA, could also be an option.

Any money generated from TV sales, advertising and gate receipts should be divided up evenly between the LOI clubs. 

The current domestic prize pool for clubs is €475,500 and this is divided out depending on league position. The teams who qualify for Europe have a further revenue source but it depends on how far they progress. Naturally, any additional funds would be welcomed by the clubs in the current climate.

The 'B' team first played in 1957 against Romania in Dalymount Park. Since then, they have played against other second string line-ups, senior international teams, English club sides and domestic Irish selections.   

Reinstating the international 'B' team isn’t going to solve all the domestic game’s issues, but it could be a start at addressing them.