Sinn Féin spokesperson on Sport Chris Andrews TD has criticised RTÉ’s lack of coverage of League of Ireland clubs representing their country in Europe this season.
The Dublin Bay South TD highlighted that none of the 15 games played by League of Ireland clubs in European competition over the past month have been shown on television, and that tomorrow it will be three months since RTÉ last broadcast a League of Ireland game.
Teactha Andrews said:
“In recent weeks, we have seen the stunning success of Irish football clubs at European level.
“Bohemians, competing in the Europa Conference League, became the first Irish club to win four successive matches in European competition.
“At the age of just 17, Aidomo Emakhu grabbed the headlines in this morning’s newspapers as Shamrock Rovers had a dramatic injury-time win at Tallaght Stadium over Albanian side KF Teuta Durres last night, while Dundalk’s remarkable pedigree in European football continued with a 2-2 draw away to Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem.
“The success of clubs like Bohs and Rovers is a source of immense pride to communities across Dublin.
“These young men, many of whom grew up in the working class communities, are now taking their local clubs to a European stage and winning.
“On Tuesday, Bohemians hosted PAOK at the Aviva Stadoim in a game where all 8,000 tickets were sold out 15 minutes after going on general sale.
“That they took on and beat PAOK, a team with 14 international players on their squad and a playing budget estimated to be 35 times greater than Bohs’, should be a source of great national pride.
“But unless you read a newspaper, many across Ireland will be completely unaware of the success these Irish clubs are currently enjoying on an international stage.
“Of the 15 European matches played so far this season by League of Ireland clubs, RTÉ has broadcasted a grand total of zero, and tomorrow will mark three months since they last showed a League of Ireland game.
“That is quite frankly an insult to Irish football and to all who support it.
“Football is our highest participation sport and as state broadcaster, RTÉ should get behind our clubs, give them the coverage they are worthy of, and help get the nation behind them as they continue to compete in Europe.”