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"Too many promises made early"| Brian Kerr

Ruairi Carberry
Ruairi Carberry

11:17 3 Jul 2020

The FAI's lack of experience in dealing with the League of Ireland delayed the league's decision to return, according to Brian Kerr. The board of the FAI ratified the return to play on Thursday evening.

The former Republic of Ireland manager, who joined Nathan Murphy after Liverpool's 4-0 defeat to Manchester City, believes that the difference in personalities across both the Premier Division and First Division made finding a solution extremely difficult, but the FAI's historical lack of interest in the league ensured a drawn-out conclusion to the saga.

"It's quite difficult to manage them unless you know a lot of the personalities involved. I think some of the people in the FAI who were trying to find a solution didn't know the personalities involved and didn't know the industry very well because they weren't involved with it ever before."

"That made it difficult, the fact that they hadn't got the experience of the LOI before," Kerr said.

Brian Kerr

This lack of experience contributed to the protracted nature of the discussions, which largely focused on the financial resolutions that would be made available to clubs.

It ensured that the decision came later than expected.

This was a sentiment shared by Dundalk manager Vinny Perth on Wednesday's OTB AM, who believed that the conclusion to that portion of the discussions should have happened over a month ago.

"It's been a very difficult for everybody situation for everybody. I think there were too many promises made early on about the possible financial settlements with the clubs if they got going again," according to Kerr.

"Initially the clubs were probably misled as to the extent of what money was to be available [from streaming] and then obviously there were promises coming about money that might come from UEFA and FIFA and that dragged on until quite recently."

From Kerr's point of view, the fact that nine out of the 10 clubs in the Premier Division had indicated their willingness to back one relegation place for the shortened league season this year, pointed towards conformity amongst the clubs in that league.

FAI

It was also a short-term solution to a larger problem, although it must be said that it would be little consolation for the team that will be relegated.

"I think the [PD] clubs had a very good case in saying if there's only half the matches there should only be half the outcome at the bottom of the table."

"It's not forever, we're only getting through a short season to get it over, to get the next one started as quick as we can," said Kerr.

In the long-term, Kerr expressed his wish to see the all-island league talks resume and it is in this situation that football in the country may begin to flourish.

"Roll on the all-island league," he said.

The pundit did concede that there are obstacles in place to seeing this idea borne into fruition not least of which the financial roadblocks that would have to be hurdled, that have only been exacerbated in the wake of COVID-19.

Kerr also gave his take on Liverpool's disappointing defeat to Pep Guardiola's defeat to Manchester City, and the debate over who will win the player of the year award in England. The full interview can be viewed above.

"I don't think now is the right time. Obviously the financial structures that need to be in place to back it all, to make it very attractive to all the clubs, and to make it substantially better than both the individual leagues are at the moment, to improve the standards, to improve the facilities, to have bigger prize money in place. I think everything needs to settle down a little bit after the interruption of COVID to sporting life," Kerr remarked.

Perhaps the most pressing issue of all to make a new league attractive would be crowds returning to the stands. The supporters of LOI clubs have long been the lifeblood of the league, that contribute to a unique experience at matches, and in an all-island format, this would be no different.

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Brian Kerr FAI First Division League Of Ireland Liverpool FC Loi Manchester City Premier Division Shamrock Rovers Soccer

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