The Government has confirmed that events with crowds of more than 5,000 will not be licensed up to the end of August.
In the last few hours the FAI have announced that they are seeking talks with Government and Department of Sport officials on the new proposals.
As Gary Owens (FAI) mentions in this statement, the devil is in the detail re government proposals, but there may be an opportunity here for the domestic league to get going again sooner than June 19th.
On the attendance numbers for the league of Ireland Premier Division:
- The average attendance at a home league of Ireland match for the 2019 season was 2,162. For 2018 it was 2,124.
- For the last two seasons stadia reached circa ~45% capacity.
- The maximum attendances for the last two seasons were 7, 021 (Shamrock Rovers vs Bohemian - 2019) and 6,672 (Cork vs Dundalk - 2018). The good news is that matches with over 5,000 spectators are very rare. For instance, in 2018 only 2 matches out of 180 had an attendance over 5,000 (Cork City v.s Dundalk and Cork City vs Waterford).
- Average attendances for each Premier Division club last season were: Bohemian (2,989) Cork City (2,505), Derry City (2,633), Dundalk (2,780), Finn Harps (1,158), Shamrock Rovers (3,444), Sligo Rovers (1,996), St Patrick’s Athletic (1,896), UCD (739), Waterford FC (1,599)
Given that excess capacity is usually available at stadia, clubs should be in a place to introduce appropriate social distancing measure for attendees. Obviously, this will not apply to any playing staff.
To avoid any potential problems some key fixtures would need to be avoided in the short-run such as Dublin Derbies, Munster Derbies or what appears to be a title decider in Shamrock Rovers vs. Dundalk.
Maybe this is one silver lining of our relatively low attendances. Perhaps, even a broadcaster may be interested in televising the league of Ireland to fans starved of the sport the world over?