Cllr Dermot Looney, a Labour Party representative on South Dublin County Council (SDCC), has said that the Council’s decision to cancel Shamrock Rovers’ home fixture against Sligo Rovers on Saturday night at Tallaght Stadium is “very questionable” and has called on Council officials to clarify the decision.
SDCC, who own the stadium, confirmed to the FAI on Thursday July 9th that the game would not be going ahead due to preparatory work on the ground for the ‘glamour’ friendly fixture between Shamrock Rovers and Real Madrid on Monday July 20th. SDCC have cited “health and safety” concerns in their decision. The cancellation of the fixture has come under criticism from both the FAI and Shamrock Rovers, who have managed to refix the game at the eleventh hour for Tolka Park.
“I’ve been contacted by dozens of Rovers’ fans who are rightly angry at this decision,” Looney noted.” “I am deeply worried about a decision that seems to undermine League of Ireland football in Tallaght.”
“Rovers have already played a number of home matches with construction work going on around the Stadium, including the recent friendly fixture against Newcastle United and the first home game of the season, which was also against Sligo Rovers. With the FAI agreeing to provide additional security resources for this Saturday, I cannot see any reason behind cancelling this fixture other than prioritising the friendly fixture with Real Madrid.”
“As a supporter of St Patrick’s Athletic, I have attended dozens of League of Ireland games on effective ‘building sites’ during upgrades of grounds such as Richmond Park, Dalymount Park, Turner’s Cross, Flancare Park and Terryland Park and, with appropriate security measures taken, there have never been any issues.”
“I have asked the manager of Tallaght Stadium to clarify the exact health and safety concerns and to specify whether retaining the quality of the pitch for Monday was a factor in the decision. I have also asked him to clarify the involvement of the Platinum One company, who have brought Real Madrid to Ireland, in the decision.”