Another example of short-term thinking by the FAI? This Friday's FAI Cup quarter-final is sure to be a great occasion for Longford Town, with league champions Cork City set to make the trip up to the midlands.
While the game was originally fixed for Saturday, the fact that it will be broadcast live on RTÉ Two has resulted in the switch to Friday evening in order to suit TV audiences. This has not sat well with the fans of Longford.
In a post on the club's official website titled 'Not A Cent', Longford's official supporters group lament the lack of compensation they will receive after the change of fixture.
While they were expecting a potential financial windfall that the visit of one of the best teams in the country could bring, they now claim that a Friday night game may, in fact, see them lose money.
The statement reads as follows:
It seems hard to believe but it’s true. The FAI changed our game against Cork City from Saturday to Friday and never even considered giving us a cent of compensation. Remember, all players work full time jobs. They’re not fully professional players like our Cup opponents. So to make the game on Friday night, they must take time off.
And as if that’s not bad enough, how much do you think the club receives from RTE for broadcasting the match ? Not a cent. Our facilities will be used, our players will provide almost 2 hours of entertainment for the viewers and we’ll receive nothing, not a cent. Because a bigger crowd than usual is anticipated, we’ll have to have extra stewards, toilets, facilities etc etc. In short this high profile match could end up costing us money.
Now in plain language, that’s mad.
The fact that Longford will receive no additional compensation from the match being broadcast live on national television is bewildering. For a club toiling in the second tier of Irish football, any extra cash would be a major boost.
The Midlands club have had some success in the FAI Cup since the turn of the century, winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004.
While it would be hoped that this Friday's game could see a return to those former glories, the fact that the potential payday for the club has been taken away is sure to leave a sour taste.
The FAI have often been accused of being out of touch with the situations present at some League of Ireland clubs, and to lessen the financial impact of a big cup tie for one of the lesser clubs seems like yet another example of this dynamic.