Is a Behind-Closed-Doors Return for the League of Ireland Viable?

The Football Association of Ireland together with the National League Executive Committee and the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland have presented a working document to all clubs and match officials. It outlined how matches will take place without fans should the HSE give the green light for football to resume.

The topic has been met with both positive and negative feedback from players and supporters but in these unprecedented times, it looks like the only feasible option. Otherwise, we run the risk of having no football here for many more months which would be further detrimental to footballer’s wellbeing, fitness and match sharpness. 

Reports suggest Niall Quinn and the FAI looking to a streaming service to bring in some match day revenue that would be naturally lost without any fans coming through the gate. A charge of €5/€10 per game looks the most reasonable price for anyone to pay. It’s difficult to know would this really be successful because, no disrespect to some of the smaller teams, but they certainly don’t have as big a fan base as Shamrock Rovers or Dundalk. But if the clubs could somehow manage to earn back the same amount of money, they would have made had their ground been open, it could work. The fact the FAI have gone this far with this proposal shows they feel it’s still possible for our clubs to survive without fans turning up. Time will tell though as some clubs like St Pats and Finn Harps have voiced their concerns over the proposal. Just like the Premier League across the water, this is a developing situation.

We all want football to come back sooner rather than later. Of course, the health and well-being is paramount to everyone at this time. But if we could get back to seeing some sort of football on the TV, it would certainly give us all a boost. I appreciate the famous quote ‘football without fans is nothing’ but in these unimaginable circumstances, alternatives must be found. 

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