Peter Fitzpatrick has apologised for comments which he made regarding the League of Ireland.
The Louth GAA chairman, who is also an independent TD, spoke to the Dundalk Democrat this week about inter-county GAA losing its elite status under Covid-19 restrictions. In doing so, he raised the ire of League of Ireland supporters by saying some clubs were unable to afford players' wages.
"As far as I’m concerned they are elite," said Fitzpatrick, "[they're] as professional as anyone, if you look at the League of Ireland I’d say some clubs can’t afford to pay their players and some of them would be amateur players so I don’t accept this claim one bit, they are only doing it to look good."
Fitzpatrick told LMFM that his comments were taken out of context.
"I was talking about all sports," he said.
"I mentioned the situation was that no gate receipts are coming in. I'm saying that every sport at the moment would be struggling to pay their players.
"I apologise with my whole heart if people took me up the wrong way. I am a sports person. I have fantastic time for the League of Ireland. I'm a regular visitor to Oriel Park."
Drogheda United chairman Conor Hoey accepted Fitzpatrick's apology for what he termed "Trumpian" comments.
"More importantly it's good to hear him talk so enthusiastically about the League of Ireland," said Hoey, also on LMFM.
"It's good to hear him talk enthusiastically about Dundalk and Drogheda and the upcoming Louth derby that we're going to have here.
"What we had an issue with is what we saw quoted in the newspaper which was his comment that said the majority of League of Ireland clubs can't afford to pay their players and there isn't one professional player in the League of Ireland who has not been paid. The PFAI came out yesterday and said that.
"We all felt pretty slighted by that, and I thought it was pretty Trumpian, populist nonsense that was coming out. The League of Ireland is trying to increasingly professionalise itself. After all the trials and tribulations of the FAI, when this sort of stuff gets perpetuated, it really annoys volunteers who run clubs and the people who we employ."
Picture credit: Sportsfile