THE Football Association of Ireland has announced the 12 clubs that will compete in the eircom League of Ireland Premier Division next season.
The announcement was made following a meeting of the FAI Board this afternoon where the recommendations of the Independent Assessment Group were approved.
The 21 clubs which took part in the process were ranked on the basis of points scored as a result of their achievements over the past five seasons on the pitch and how they measured up against specific criteria covering areas such as infrastructure, governance, strategic planning, finance, youth development and marketing.
The 12 clubs selected for the 2007 Premier Division are (in alphabetical order):
St Patrick’s Athletic
The remaining nine clubs will participate in the First Division. They are (in alphabetical order): Athlone Town, Cobh Ramblers, Dundalk, Finn Harps, Kildare County, Kilkenny City, Limerick*, Monaghan United, Waterford United.
*Limerick’s participation depends on the club receiving a First Division licence on appeal.
FAI Chief Executive, Mr. John Delaney thanked IAG members Des Casey, Pat O’Neill, John Fitzgerald and Richard Collins for their excellent work over the past few months.
He said: “The IAG members brought tremendous integrity and independence to the process. They ensured that the criteria were applied in a rigorous and diligent fashion and we are very grateful to them for their dedication.”
Mr Delaney said the FAI could now proceed with the preparations for the next season’s eircom League of Ireland.
“We have already appointed a National Promotions Officer and are close to the appointment of a League Director as well as selecting club promotions officers to each of the 12 Premier Division clubs” he said.
“Already, the benefits of the FAI taking over the eircom League are beginning to materialise. We will have a prize fund in excess of €1m between the eircom League, FAI Ford Cup and Setanta Sports Cup and our broadcasting partners will be showing over 50 live television games.
“We have already introduced the standard player’s contract and have agreed a new forum for dialogue with club managers. The manager of each eircom League club has been invited by the FAI to the Euro 2008 qualifier against San Marino where the first forum will take place.”
The chairman of the Independent Assessment Group, Des Casey, said:
“I am satisfied that the non-scoring process of assessment was carried out in a fair and equitable manner in accordance with the criteria and terms of reference laid down.
“The Group’s collective evaluation was established on that basis and following individual meetings with all the clubs concerned.”