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Only 4 LOI Clubs Are Now In Favour Of The 10 Team Premier Division Restructuring

Only 4 LOI Clubs Are Now In Favour Of The 10 Team Premier Division Restructuring
By Conor Neville

The League of Ireland authorities have been unable to settle on whether they desire a 10-team or a 12-team top division.

For most the past 30 years, the Premier Division has been a 12 team competition. But they've flirted with a 10-team top flight on a couple of occasions. The league was reduced to 10 teams between 2002-03 and 2004 (three seasons as 2003 was the year of the summer soccer switch) and then again between 2009 and 2011.

Since 2012, the top division has returned to a 12-team affair, despite the overall reduction of numbers in the league. The First Division has been an 8-team competition for a few seasons, having contained 12 teams as recently as 2010.

The Conroy Report, released in 2015 and not to be confused with the recent Gabay report, recommended a reversion back to the 10-team Premier Division structure. Two divisions comprised on ten teams each is envisioned.

According to Neil O'Riordan in the Sun, only four Premier Division clubs are solidly behind the restructure. Unsurprisingly, three of the four are clustered near the top of the league. Dundalk, Derry City and Shamrock Rovers all endorse the plan. The remaining club in favour, St. Patrick's Athletic, won the league as recently as 2013 and only slumped to mid-table this season.

However, Cork City, themselves contenders for the title for the past three seasons, are opposed to the restructure proposals. They are joined by Bohemians, Galway United, Finn Harps and Drogheda United.

Bray Wanderers and Sligo Rovers were both unenthusiastic about the proposal but had initially agreed to go along with the plans. The former have now formally withdrawn their support.

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The Premier Club Alliance - PCA - are holding a meeting on Monday. In 2015, the PCA hired Michael Cush SC to represent them in talks with the FAI, a sign of the club's willingness to take a robust approach in their dealings with the association. After their meeting on Monday, we'll see if they're ready for another dispute with the FAI.

Read more: What Was Your First Sports Jersey? The Balls Team Recall Theirs

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