UK news The only way for Irish League clubs to survive this pandemic is for change to come at the top, insists Larne chief Kenny Bruce last news
MetiNews.Com - Larne owner Kenny Bruce believes changes are required at the top of the game here to bring new innovation and energy to Irish League football and help clubs survive and thrive.
Breaking News ! "Larne owner Kenny Bruce believes changes are required at the top of the game here to bring new innovation and energy to Irish League football and help clubs survive and thrive. In a typically straight-talking interview with Sunday Life Sport, successful businessman Bruce claimed there has been no direction or leadership from the football authorities through the coronavirus pandemic, insisted an agreement between the Irish FA, the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL), clubs and the NI Executive should have been drawn up in the summer to help with the financial problems now being faced, and suggested the NIFL Board needs to be freshened up on a regular basis.Bruce, who has invested millions of pounds on and off the pitch in Larne, wants Irish League football to flourish and has questioned how the football authorities have handled difficult issues this year in the wake of Covid-19."I think if Irish League football had the right leadership, it would have an enormous opportunity to grow its revenues, fan base and awareness across Northern Ireland, the UK and the world - just look at what Coleraine and Oran Kearney did in Europe this season and Linfield with David Healy last season," said Bruce."To me, there needs to be much stronger leadership and if that isn't delivered then changes are required. There is no direction for the clubs from the top and that is such a shame."We all knew there was going to be a second wave and there would be enormous pressure on football clubs financially but to have no conversations with all involved from May time when last season was concluded about how we were going to budget for playing behind closed doors or with limited crowds or how to get government involved or support from the IFA or UEFA to then turn round and say within a week or two of the new season starting that they were beginning to engage with government is just astonishing to me."I heard Andrew Johnston (NIFL Managing Director) say on the BBC on Friday that they had been talking to the government the last couple of days. Those conversations should have been going on in May and we should have had clear direction that the IFA and government were going to put money in to help and that clubs had to reduce expenditure. All of that should have been agreed in the summer subject to a second wave coming."It should have been agreed in the event that clubs were going to have to play behind closed doors what clubs would do to contribute and what the IFA, UEFA and the government would contribute so that everyone could have prepared in readiness for that sort of eventuality."There are so many situations in Northern Ireland football where there is not enough rigorous independence within committees. You have people who are on the NIFL Board who are also on the IFA Board and you have people on the NIFL Board regularly voted in year after year. "There should be a rotation process so you don't create cliques, and create that independence and governance which would happen in any other non-profit making association. Yet in Northern Ireland football it doesn't happen. You can't have a scenario where you have the same people year after year on the NIFL Board. There has to be rotation.
."Northern Ireland football has an enormous amount to offer but unless there are new ideas and energy, you aren't going to see Northern Irish football flourish the way it should which sadly could see clubs fall by the wayside. "We need people at the very, very top who care about Northern Irish football and the impact it can have on the community and if you get people in who care and respect what our game can do, there is a real opportunity to have a great future from the Intermediate League through to the Championship and Premiership. I'm only a new kid on the block but I was a supporter for many years when I lived in Larne but I don't get the same energy and feeling from the IFA and NIFL with regards to our game."When contacted by Sunday Life Sport, NIFL refuted the claims by Bruce that there has been a lack of leadership, engagement with government and the clubs themselves, as members, select the NIFL Board.A NIFL spokesperson said: "NIFL has been engaging with government throughout the pandemic. The NIFL Board established a Taskforce in August to lead a lobbying strategy and develop a business case to provide financial support for all member clubs."(Andrew's comments) were in reference to more recent dialogue with government and in relation to a specific question regarding the presentation to the Committee for Communities on Thursday where NIFL's presentation received cross-party support."The Premiership Management Committee, with all clubs present, have been regularly kept up to date with updates on FIFA funding and the work of the Taskforce. The clubs have also been advised that NIFL have established a Covid-19 recovery fund and invested a six-figure sum."The NIFL Board is appointed by the membership of the organisation. The clubs determine the make-up of the Board, which is also required to include two independent members."The Irish FA also take issue with Bruce and insist they would be happy to meet him to discuss his sentiments.An Irish FA spokesperson said: "The Irish FA is a democratic, member owned association with governance structures in place to ensure the efficient administration of football at all levels in Northern Ireland."Our council is made up of nominations from all parts of the game. Eight of our board members are elected from this council and the other three are independents chosen following an open and transparent application process.""
Source = MetiNews.Com