PAT FENLON believes Derry City would be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the proposed All-Ireland League and has urged clubs, north and south, to continue to explore the ambitious plans.
The FAI and a League of Ireland working group met in Tallaght on Tuesday and have set a deadline of November 3rd for clubs to decide whether to pursue Kieran Lucid’s proposals.
However, ex-Derry City boss and current general manager of Linfield, Fenlon, has called for more time for further discussions between the clubs.
”Logistically, for Derry, it would be a lot easier to what they have to face at the moment but that’s maybe a bigger conversation in terms of where Derry are at as a club,” said the Dubliner. “That’s probably not something I can comment on.
“It would be great to see it from a football perspective. The one thing I’d hate to see is that it’s pushed to the backburner and people haven’t explored it to the end for reasons of self interest or self preservation - that would be very disappointing.
“I think we know both leagues need help and need an injection, so why not listen to what’s on offer and as a group, as two leagues, make a decision on the back of that rather than just thinking about yourself and self preservation and jobs or whatever the case may be.
“My own personal opinion, which is not necessarily Linfield’s opinion, is that anything that can develop the game in the country is something which can only be good,” he added.
“Obviously it should be discussed and looked into as far as we can. If it’s not going to take the game forward then we don’t run with it. But I think it’s definitely something which has got to be looked at. It would freshen things up for everybody.
“It’s a case of having some dialogue around it and see where it’s going to. What will really interest people is if the financial reward is better for everybody. That’s where both leagues are struggling, financially in relation to TV deals, prizemoney, all that sort of stuff which is the only real revenue for the teams.
“And that’s why Europe has become so important for teams in both leagues. The revenue from the two domestic leagues is fairly low key. Anybody else I’ve spoken to in the game, both north and south, have said we need to tease it out.
“We need to see financially where it’s at compared to what we have at the moment in both separate leagues.
“Everybody is willing to listen but nobody is giving a commitment to say they want to jump to it. And it’s the same with Linfield. We’ve always said we will listen to what’s going on and obviously then we get to that final point that you have to make a decision on it but we’re not at that stage at the moment.”