One club or nothing warns FAI on impasse

A top official with the FAI has insisted that the plan to have a single Galway side playing in the League of Ireland next season is the only option – and goal – of the country’s soccer authorities, as a group of Galway United fans met last night to discuss whether or not to pull their backing for the proposal.

The Galway United Supporters’ Trust (GUST) held a meeting in the Galway Rovers clubhouse in Claddagh last night to update fans on the progress of talks in relation to the proposed new side, and while the outcome of that meeting was not known at the time of going to press, the FAI insists plans are still on track for a single Galway entity next season.

“The board of the FAI commissioned Ned O’Connor to carry out a report on the situation in Galway, and he recommended that a single entity representing Galway City and County play out of Eamonn Deacy Park.

“Obviously, as we commissioned that report, we intend to carry out its recommendation, and that means having a single side representing Galway next season. Talks are continuing – we want to ensure things are done properly, and it is crucial we have everyone on side in relation to the matter,” an FAI official said.

The O’Connor report recommended that four key stakeholders – the Galway FA, GUST, Mervue United  and Salthill Devon – work together for the formation of a single side to represent Galway in the League of Ireland.

While no public confirmation has yet been made, both Mervue and Devon have accepted that this is their last season in the League of Ireland, which has been confirmed by sources within the FAI. However, angered at what it sees as a lack of progress with the talks, the GUST called a meeting last night where, it is believed, a proposal was to be put to the floor to withdraw from the talks.

Members of the fans’ group have been angered at what it sees as ‘obstacles’ being put in its way, including exclusion from the Airtricity U-19 League, in which it competed last year; and from plans to relaunch the Connacht Senior League.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel

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