FAI warns local acrimony must be cast aside if one Galway club plan to workOctober 12, 2012 - 7:00am
THE four major stakeholders in the game of soccer in Galway need to put their differences aside and work together to build a new ‘club’ which can compete at the highest level in the domestic game, according to a report into the future of senior soccer in Galway.
Ned O’Connor, the author of the FAI-commissioned report which was published last Thursday, says the success of the proposed new venture “depends on the vision and attitude locally” adding that while soccer’s national governing body will give as much support as it can, ultimately the success of the proposed new club will come down to the efforts and co-operation of people locally.
O’Connor’s report drew up five recommendations, and they one he proposed adopting – which has been accepted and ratified by the FAI – is for Mervue United and Salthill Devon to withdraw from the league, and instead join with the Galway FA and the Galway United Supporters’ Trust (GUST) to form a single club which would represent the city and county of Galway.
“If you are to have a successful team at the pinnacle of the league from Galway, there would need to be just one team in Galway. The structures won’t be easy, and if it can be done, it is a matter to be determined locally, it depends on the vision and attitude locally.
“A new team needs the support of the city and the county, so it needs the backing of the four successful major stakeholders in the Galway at the moment – the Galway FA, Mervue United, Salthill Devon and the Galway United Supporters’ Trust.
“It would be important to have representatives from the four groups on a committee, to bring the four groups together, under an independent chairman. It is important that everyone gives it backing and buys into it,” O’Connor said following the publication of the report.
The GUST were the first to react to the report, calling a public meeting for the following night in the city where those in attendance ratified the report’s findings. The other three organisations are all due to present the report to their respective boards at scheduled meetings this week.
While the four named stakeholders have given an initial welcome to the proposal, there is some concern and disappointment that the FAI have not put a timeframe in place in relation to the proposals. The CEO of the FAI, John Delaney, said that while ideally the new Galway entity would be ready to compete in the 2013 season, realistically it would be 2014 before the necessary structures were put in place.
“Kids aspire to play for a local team in a marvellous stadium, and you have a marvellous ground here in Eamonn Deacy Park. People need to come together for the good of Galway football, and on that basis the FAI has accepted the report.
“We don’t want to put a timescale on it, if it is 2014 then so be it. If this is a new entity, there is a lot involved with regards to structures, and we want to do it right to have a team representing all of Galway in the league,” Delaney said.
Those structures includes the return of the Connacht Senior League, which ran from 1981/82 until the 1999/00 season, when it was scrapped, leaving Connacht as the only one of the four provinces without a senior league.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.