The FAI has announced that Bank of Ireland has come on board as an associate sponsor of the League of Ireland on a three-year deal, covering the Men’s Divisions, the Women’s National League, the FAI Cups and the launch of a More Than A Club programme across the domestic game.

The new League of Ireland sponsorship was announced virtually on Thursday morning as Irish football counts down to the start of the 2021 campaign which gets underway with the FAI President’s Cup meeting between league champions Shamrock Rovers and FAI Cup winners Dundalk at Tallaght Stadium on March 12th.

As associate sponsors, Bank of Ireland will look to plan a range of initiatives with the FAI for the new look More Than A Club concept as they work with the League of Ireland’s Community Development Manager Derek O’Neill. Clubs across Ireland will engage with the More Than A Club initiative to devise and deliver important social programmes, particularly within disadvantaged communities.

“This is another important day for League of Ireland football and another significant boost for our domestic game,” said FAI Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Hill. “I want to thank the team at Bank of Ireland for their faith in Irish football and welcome them into our great family of existing sponsors as an Associate Sponsor of the League.

“The League of Ireland has captured the hearts and minds of Irish football fans for 100 years and Bank of Ireland will now help us strengthen and improve the league and cup structures moving forward into the modern era. 

Pictured at the launch of Bank of Ireland as Associate Sponsors of the League of Ireland are (left to right) James O’Callaghan of Peamount United, Filippo Giovagnoli for Dundalk, Stephen Bradley of Shamrock Rovers and Erika Ni Thuama of Cork City. The attached image has been digitally enhanced as the imagery was captured in line with Government guidelines on Level 5 restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am particularly delighted that Bank of Ireland will be the main supporter of our More Than A Club programme, specifically designed to help clubs become increasingly more relevant in local communities. Grassroots development is a key pillar of success for our League of Ireland clubs and this partnership will deliver real impact results for players, fans, and football stakeholders alike.”   

Henry Dummer, Chief Marketing Officer, Bank of Ireland said: “Bank of Ireland is delighted to partner with the FAI by becoming an Associate Sponsor of the League of Ireland, pledging our support to the grassroots of Irish football. This three-year agreement covers the League of Ireland Premier and First Divisions, the Women’s National League and the FAI Senior Cups.

 “We will also sponsor the More Than A Club programme, which is designed to develop a social enterprise-based model for League of Ireland men’s and women’s clubs, in attempting to make them key pillars of participation and success in their local areas. Like all the players, fans and volunteers across the League of Ireland, we are looking forward to the start of a new campaign and wish all the clubs well as we face into this season.”

The League of Ireland’s Community Development Manager Derek O’Neill said: “Football clubs are at the heart of communities nationwide and the League of Ireland will encourage clubs to become more aware of their role in society by using football’s universal appeal.

“With the support of Bank of Ireland, the League of Ireland will help clubs to embrace a wider agenda which will enable them to become more relevant community entities. The Community Development Programme is an exciting initiative which League of Ireland clubs can employ to the benefit of their own areas, as well as enhance the club’s own growth ambitions. The programme is inspired by the More Than A Club Football in the Community model which was piloted in recent years with Bohemian FC and Cork City.”