James McClean insists the lack of Government funding for the League of Ireland makes tournament qualification an uphill struggle for Ireland.
Another failed quest to reach next year’s Euros extends the tournament drought to at least a decade up to the 2026 World Cup but more likely attainable is the 2026 Euros, even via hosting rights.
McClean and other LOI graduates have agreed to fund scholarships to assist aspiring teens map out a professional career at home but only a significant grant scheme from the state will subsidise a wider system against the backdrop of Brexit rule preventing players joining UK clubs until they’re 18.
Existing Government handouts to the FAI, including €5.8m of core annual funding, are stalled due to concerns uncovered that chief executive Jonathan Hill’s remuneration breached state limits.
McClean said: “If anyone thinks we’re better than France and Holland, the reality is we aren’t. Greece also beat us twice. Without getting too much into it, this is probably a domestic thing to be honest.
“Look at our domestic league compared to theirs; the headstart they have from ages ago.
“We don’t have that in this country in a sense and we need more funding.
“I heard the other day the FAI could have its funding cut by 50 percent. You’re competing with your hands tied behind your back. We need a strong domestic league. That definitely hinders the national team and there is no getting away from that.”Read on irishexaminer.com