Uphill battle ahead for Finn Harps as ten-team League confirmed

first_imgFINN HARPS MUST finish ninth in the 2017 season to secure their place in the Premier Division, it has been confirmed.The fixtures for the new League of Ireland season have been released today, with Harps starting their campaign at home to FAI Cup winners Cork City on Friday, February 24.Of greater concern to Harps officials now will be the confirmation that the League of Ireland is reverting to a ten-team Premier Division for the 2018 season. The Harps Board have agreed their budget for the 2017 season ‘in principle’, but now must meet with the FAI who will rubber stamp it.However, senior club officials at the Ballybofey club saw they may now have to ‘revisit’ their budgetary plans, given that the new format means that Harps will have to finish above at least three teams to secure survival.The 2017 First Division champions will be automatically promoted with the bottom three clubs in the Premier Division set to be relegated.“To get to a budget that would equate to the teams in fourth, fifth or sixth in the League, it would mean doubling and more the Finn Harps budget,” a Harps official said. Harps voted against the change and club secretary John Campbell, writing on Facebook this week, appealed for what he called ‘Corporate Donegal’ to ‘take the steps support-wise’ to secure Premier Division football for Harps.Leading members of the Premier Club Alliance (PCA) have pushed for the ten-team League, although it is believed that League champions Dundalk were not in favour of the change.The likes of St Patrick’s Athletic, Shamrock Rovers, Cork City, Sligo Rovers and, perhaps surprisingly, Bray Wanderers, are understood to have led the change.However, Harps officials were in the dark until the official release of information by the League this afternoon.The ‘Conway Report’, which was published in August 2015, recommended a ten-team top division, claiming that it would mean ‘more games with more at stake for clubs and fans for more of the season’. Harps open with a home clash with Cork. Following that, Harps will be away to Bray Wanders before they host Galway United at Finn Park.Harps are pencilled in to face Derry City on Friday, April 14 at Maginn Park.Derry’s first game at Maginn Park will be on Sunday, March 5, when they face Limerick.The full fixture list is available here: http://www.sseairtricityleague.ie/images/2017_Season_SSE_Airtricity_League_Premier_Division_Fixture_List.pdf Uphill battle ahead for Finn Harps as ten-team League confirmed was last modified: December 22nd, 2016 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

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