20 May 2010 Edition
Mid-West community urged to get behind Limerick City FC in clash with FAI over Barcelona match
FAI headquarters has blocked Limerick City from playing the Catalan giants... because it’s suspected the FAI wants to keep the Barcelona attraction all for itself and its just-opened, showpiece Aviva Stadium at Lansdowne Road.
The local Airtricity League club had already reached an agreement with FC Barcelona to schedule the match for Saturday, July 31st, with stars like Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Xavi giving domestic soccer in the West a major boost. But the FAI has said the game won’t go on. The FAI has denied that its own talks with Barca about a friendly had any impact on its decision to stop Limerick going ahead with its already-agreed date. It claims contractual arrangements prevents the green light being given to Limerick City FC.
Maurice Quinlivan has contacted the FAI to relay fans’ anger and what a setback this is for grassroots soccer as well as a huge disappointment for sports fans and youngsters outside the capital who get rare opportunities to see world-class soccer stars in action locally.
“Limerick FC is a small club struggling against the odds to promote football and sustain itself,” the Sinn Féin councillor said.
“Playing Barcelona was an ideal opportunity to build support for football here in Limerick and lead to a strengthening of Limerick FC as a viable club. This opportunity has been now been taken away from them by the FAI.”
He urged all TDs and councillors to make a stand and lobby the FAI to allow the game to take place as planned.
Limerick FC Chair Pat O’Sullivan said the FAI’s move is “a massive setback” for Limerick FC, Limerick City and the mid-west region.
“The potential benefit to the local economy of up to €10 million and to the profile of soccer in the region is enormous.
“This makes it imperative that the Airtricity League Director reverse his decision, sanction this match and allow fans all over the region see the likes of Lionel Messi grace Thomond Park in July.”
As we go to print on, it has been announced that Barcelona have said that the date of July 31st is now no longer available to Limerick City FC.