Will O'Callaghan
Will O'Callaghan

23.16 1 Jul 2020


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Shamrock Rovers chairman Jonathan Roche insists they voted in the best interests of the League of Ireland in approving plans for the return of the SSE Airtricity League later this month. 

Sligo's treasurer David Rowe told Off The Ball last night that Shamrock Rovers were the only Premier Division club to back the proposals, which will see the previous system of relegation playoffs retained along with automatic relegation for the bottom side in the top-flight's curtailed 18 game campaign.

Rowe claimed that the Bit O'Red were "disappointed" and that there was "anger" among top-flight sides about Shamrock Rovers adopting a club position at the National League Executive Committee but Roche says they were considering the sporting integrity of the league rather than self interest:

"We think if the promotion and relegation system was changed, it would have a dramatic effect on the First Division as well as the Premier Division," the Hoops chairman told Joe Molloy this evening.,

"We as a club expressed this opinion that it would drastically impact the competitiveness of the league if only one team is relegated and one team promoted.

"We have a different opinion to six clubs up until the other day when nine then expressed an opinion and that's where we are."

The FAI are now reviewing the process of Tuesday's decision following complaints from top-flight clubs and Roche says Shamrock Rovers won't be "jumping up and down and stamp their feet" about not getting their own way:

"We'll wanted to play all our remaining games, we wanted at least three series of games, but all the clubs listened to financial issues around it and some clubs said they could only play a certain amount of games.

"We wanted to play all the games but we're not going to. Everyone is suffering and the speed of all this has been very frustrating for all clubs and it needs to be agreed on, the FAI need to ratify the decision as soon as possible.

"There's a board meeting tomorrow so some decision has to be ratified tomorrow because we all want to get back playing football on the 31st of July, I think all clubs are agreed on that.

"We've 13 league games left, we've an FAI Cup thank God, because two weeks ago some teams didn't want to play the cup and luckily we also have Europe to look forward to.

"This needs to be acted on quickly and be ratified or if it's not ratified then I don't know what's going to happen. All clubs will never agree on everything that's why the NLEC is there."


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