Will O'Callaghan
Will O'Callaghan

20.27 30 Jun 2020


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Sligo Rovers' treasurer David Rowe says the Premier Division clubs are angry after structures were narrowly approved today for the return of the SSE Airtricity League season. 

Promotion and relegation will remain as normal with one up and one down automatically, and a playoff to decide the other spot. Sligo believe the format is “grossly unfair and unjust" and they do not see the matter as closed.

"We agree there has to be some form of relegation but you've half a season, nobody saw this coming," Rowe told Joe Molloy on tonight's Off The Ball. The Premier clubs are carrying huge financial risk, huge financial challenge which has just been increased by COVD-19.

"The sands keep shifting on this, at one stage you could pull out and they weren't going to relegate you and then there was going to be a load of playoffs where maybe no Premier team would go down.

"It's patently unfair and I know there's been court cases in other jurisdictions of similar decisions and talks of boycotts and all sorts of stuff. There's anger among nine Premier Division clubs.

"The Premier clubs are meeting this evening, absolutely not happy with the outcome and the way it was reached. We all want to play, the FAI were being told by UEFA that the most important thing was to get the Premier Division completed.

"We signed up against our better financial judgement to compete because we're a soccer club and that's what we do. We were kind of inveigled into that on the belief that certainly the one up and one down and playoffs would not be the relegation proposal. We feel we've been mugged from all sides."

Shamrock Rovers were the only Premier Division club to back today's proposals and Rowe feels the Hoops were acting in their own self interest:

"There was consensus among nine of the Premier Division clubs was that there needed to be some form of relegation and they proposed an automatic one up and one down. So the (First Division) champions would be promoted and the team in last (in the Premier) would be relegated.

"There was an expectation that all ten clubs would back that, Shamrock Rovers took their position, and then somewhat disappointedly when it went forward to the Executive Committee where there are three representatives from the Premier Division and two from the First Division, the Shamrock Rovers official adopted a club position rather than carrying a 9/1 mandate.

"That really decided the vote of one up and one down and then one playoff place and that's what's happened. We're disappointed with that. Firstly someone who was elected to represent us has made a decision going against a 90% majority and quite frankly it feels like being mugged all over the place at the moment.

"Between the financial package that was presented to us, the shortfall that leaves and then this development today, we're playing half a season, we've 13 games left.

"It's disappointing, particularly the way it has happened, it's not fair and I'm not sure where it goes from here but yeah we're disappointed with the decision and the manner in which it was taken."


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League Of Ireland SSE Airtricity League Shamrock Rovers Sligo Rovers

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