UEFA Under 21 Appointment
Well known Mayo League Referee, Damien McGraith has been appointed by UEFA to the forthcoming Under 21 European Championships to be held in Denmark in June. This is a very high profile competition, said Mayo League Chairman Paraic McHale, and is indeed a huge appointment for Damien, and he deserves our congratulations on his appointment. I am sure he will be wished the best of luck by all involved in Mayo soccer.
Airtricity League clubs receive UEFA seeding boost
AIRTRICITY LEAGUE clubs are set to enter the UEFA Champions League and Europa League draws in June with the most favourable odds in the history of Irish participation on the European stage.
Following the completion of the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League competition, thoughts will now turn to the 2011-12 campaign where Ireland's representatives in Europe will be Airtricity League champions Shamrock Rovers, FAI Ford Cup holders Sligo Rovers, Bohemians and St Patrick's Athletic.
With the domestic action coming to a close in the leagues that run a winter season, the Irish clubs have a clearer picture now of what their European challenge will be.
As a result of FK Borac Banja Luka winning the League title in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Shamrock Rovers will be seeded in the draw for the Second Qualifying Round of the UEFA Champions League.
The Hoops will face one of the following 17 clubs in that round: Dacia Chisinau (Moldova), FC Pyunik Yerevan (Armenia), FK Borac Banja Luka (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Skonto Riga (Latvia), FC Fehérvár (Hungary), Bangor City (Wales), HB Torshavn (Faroe Islands), Linfield (Northern Ireland), Tobol Kustanai (Kazakhstan), F91 Dudelange (Luxembourg), Flora Tallinn (Estonia), Breidablik (Iceland), FC Valletta (Malta), Neftchi Baku (Azerbaijan), Shkendija Tetovo (FYR Macedonia), Skënderbeu Korçë (Albania) and FK Mogren (Montenegro).
Being seeded will give the Hoops an opportunity to make significant progress in Europe this summer. Victory in the Second Round would guarantee Shamrock Rovers a minimum of four extra European matches including a play-off for a place in the group stages of the Europa League if required.
Financially, it would also mean a minimum payment of €550,000 from UEFA - €330,000 of which is already guaranteed - and the club would also garner €130,000 should the Hoops qualify for the next round. Rovers would also benefit to the tune of a further €90,000 should they fail to qualify for the Champions League group stages and move into the Europa League.
St Patrick's Athletic will also be seeded in the draws for both the First and Second Qualifying Rounds of the UEFA Europa League while Bohemians will be seeded for the Second Qualifying Round as they are exempt from the First Qualifying Round. The draws from both stages of the UEFA Europa League will take place on June 20th.
By virtue of FC Porto winning the Europa League Cup rather than Sporting Braga, Sligo Rovers - as FAI Ford Cup winners - will be forwarded to the Third Qualifying Round of the UEFA Europa League.
This is because FC Porto do not require the title holder's place in the Europa League as they have qualified for the Champions League next season.
Ireland is placed 29th on the access/ranking list. This would be the first time ever that an Irish club was exempted from two rounds of a European club competition.
Airtricity League director Fran Gavin said: "Our Clubs have made significant progress in Europe over the past few seasons and this year's representatives are benefiting from those previous good results.
"The inclusion of Sligo Rovers in the Europa League 3rd qualifying round is another milestone for the Airtricity League and puts the group stages well in sight of an Airtricity League club. However we should not under estimate how difficult this seasons European campaigns will be for our clubs, who are now working with reduced squads and young players, some of whom will be facing European opposition for the first time."
Launch of the Three FAI communications Awards
Three, primary sponsors of the Irish National football team, announced the launch of the Three FAI communications Awards, part of Three's ongoing commitment to Irish football and following on from the hugely successful club affinity programme. The Three FAI communications awards have been introduced to acknowledge the excellent work at local, regional and national level by clubs, leagues, affiliates, journalists, photographers and media organisations, who use some of the many different communication tools available to promote Irish football.
Commenting on the launch, Rachel Channing, PR and Communications Director at Three, said, "We are delighted to announce the launch of the Three FAI Communications Awards as part of our ongoing commitment to support grassroots football. It's a terrific initiative and an opportunity to reward the excellent work being done by the media, at all levels, across Ireland."
Peter Sherrard, Communications Director of the FAI added: "These new awards have been introduced to recognise all of the good work being done by journalists and PRO's the length and breadth of the country. Clubs and leagues will have the opportunity to recognise and reward the significant contribution being made by the media to the growth of Irish football."
The 2011 award categories include:
1. The best written article category will feature separate awards for national and regional articles. The category is open to journalists and contributors who have written an article or articles on any aspect of Irish football during the qualifying period.
2. The best broadcast item will feature separate awards for national and regional journalists and contributors who have broadcast an item on any aspect of Irish football during the qualifying period.
3. The best website category rewards the best website belonging to a club or league affiliated to the Football Association of Ireland.
4. The best PRO category rewards the best Public Relations Officers attached to a club or league affiliated to the Football Association of Ireland for work completed during the qualifying period.
5. The best publication category rewards the best publication by a club, league or affiliate of the Football Association of Ireland from match programmes, yearbooks to published commemorative booklets.
6. The best photograph category rewards the best photograph taken during the qualifying period by an amateur or professional photographer of an Irish grassroots soccer theme.
The 2011 Awards will cover the period from June 1, 2010 to May 30, 2011 and entries must be submitted by June 17th 2011. Entries must be submitted by post. Entry forms can be downloaded on www.fai.ie/threefaicommunications
· Post: send to Three FAI Communications Awards, Football Association of Ireland, National Sports Campus, Abbotstown, Dublin 15
· Email queries: If you have any queries about the awards or need assistance to apply, send your name, telephone number and question to firstname.lastname@example.org.