Training scaled

League to stream games for fans

Roberto Lopes, Liam Scales and Joey O’Brien when the Shamrock Rovers’ squad returned to training session at Roadstone, Dublin, last month. INPHO/RYAN BYRNE

By Seán Creedon

GAA President John Horan was not happy that the Government insisted on a maximum of 200 people in attendance when the GAA club action resumed two weeks ago. However, League of Ireland soccer returns this weekend and all premier division clubs are going ahead without any fans. Instead season ticket holders will get free access to live streaming of the games and there will be a subscription service of €55 for domestic viewers and €69 for the rest of the world. That will work out at around €1 per game. The money generated will be divided between the premier and first division clubs, some of whom will allow a small number of supporters attend their games.

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The EPL season has just finished, so there could be a demand for domestic games on television and this is a good test. RTE’s Head of Sport Declan McBennett said: ‘‘We will know a lot in the first 10 days, and an awful lot when we get to Hallowe’en. I am not saying this is a silver bullet by any stretch of the imagination but it’s an experiment that is worth doing, a project that is worth undertaking. The FAI see merit in it. GAAGO saw merit in it and you put the two of them together and we see what happens. If this takes off, great for everybody. If it doesn’t and the numbers are not significant then there are lessons there for everybody as well. The numbers of the subscriptions domestically and internationally will prove the merit of it. The price point cannot be an issue because it’s more than competitive.”

Also the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland (PFAI) has confirmed that League of Ireland players will “take a knee” in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign before all games for eight rounds of games from July 31 to Sept. 27.