Neal Horgan: "I'm not in favour of a ten-team Premier Division"

The former Cork City defender was speaking to Newstalk Breakfast

Neal Horgan: "I'm not in favour of a ten-team Premier Division"

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The 2017 Premier Division could be the last in its current guise.

Reports claim that the FAI are to follow the recommendations of the Conroy Report and change the top-tier from 12 to ten teams. That means three teams will be relegated next season, with only the First Division champions earning promotion. Both divisions will then have ten teams, with four rounds of fixtures.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, former Cork City defender and author of the book Second City, Neal Horgan spoke about his experiences of playing in a ten-team Premier Division.

"It was last changed between 2008 and 2009, it was moved back to a ten-team league. It reverted back to 12-teams in 2012. I'm not in favour of a ten-team Premier Division. I think it's done to help the First Division, which is struggling."

"My personal experience of it was that we were playing the same team every few weeks, it felt like. If you played a team in the Cup, you could have a replay. At one point we played Drogheda six times in six months. You get too familiar with teams. It doesn't leave a good taste I felt."

One option that has been mention is the idea of "a split" that is use in the Scottish Premiership. Each team plays each other three times, before the league is split into two mini leagues of six, where the teams play the five other times one last time. Horgan feels that could work in Ireland.

Neal Horgan. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

"The split could work. If you had a 12-team league and the split, I'd be in favour of that in terms of the Premier Division. They are persisting with it in Scotland. Having more important matches towards of the end of the season can help with attendances."

2016 has been a landmark year for the League of Ireland, with Dundalk's performance in the Europa League. Horgan told Oisin Langan that the success of Dundalk, may push other clubs beyond their means in an effort to catch up with Stephen Kenny's side.

"What Dundalk have done has been amazing. They had breached levels of what League of Ireland clubs has done, both on and off the pitch. Cork City wer brought along with it, as they were competing with them. I dont think other clubs were."

"There's a danger at the moment, that in the absence of overall guidance from the FAI in relation to professional football which seems to be still lacking, there's a danger that the likes of Bray and Shamrock Rovers, in an attempt to catch up with Dundalk will suffer the same consequences that happened to Cork City in 2009."

"I'd love the FAI to come out with a plan. Instead of changing from a 12 to a ten team league, a plan for professional football in five to ten years. I think the league could do that if the FAI were on board."

The Premier Division fixture for next season are expected to be released in the coming days.