FAI to contribute a quarter of a million euro to League of Ireland underage sides

Tue, Feb 13 2018

Fran Gavin at the launch of the inaugural under-17s league in 2015. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick

The FAI are to provide €250,000 to help fund the League of Ireland clubs' underage teams on top of UEFA's solidarity contribution - bringing total funding to over €1.15 million.


Director of Competitions Fran Gavin announced the new fund at the SSE Airtricity League Launch at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.


“Over the last number of years we’ve introduced the under-19s and the national under-17 league,” said Gavin at the event.


“This year will see the first full season of the under-15 league and next year we’ll have an under-13 league.


“In the discussions we’ve had with the clubs over the last year they’ve explained to us and we understand that there’s a cost, and that cost is quite high.”


“We have an obligation to support them around that because we are insisting that they have their standards high.


“We’re looking for competition and the bottom line on this is that everyone wants to produce better players.


“We did an exercise during the year with all the club’s to get the costings of all those leagues and collectively it came to around 1.4million.


“When you have that figure we decided to have a youth development fund in place and we would give 250000 to that fund which would be spread across the clubs that’s in addition to the travel grants that are in place for many years now.


“In addition to that UEFA have a solidarity youth development fund. Last year that was 825000 and that is normally on an upward trend over the last few years we wouldn’t see it being any less next season.


“When you add the UEFA money, you add the money we’re putting in and you add the travel grants altogether it works out at around 1.15 million so that’s our commitment to the youth.”


Fran Gavin also praised the work the clubs have been doing so far in producing good young players since the leagues were introduced.


“The clubs are doing marvellous work and they’re producing very good players we want to keep it going.


“It’s difficult enough to run first teams never mind youth teams because you’ve got pitch hire, you’ve got grounds, you’ve got coaches – every team nearly has its own strength and conditioning coach.


“Every team has video analysis and there’s a cost to all that.”