Lincoln City FC woos young players with Irish
An English football team has advertised for a personal tutor to teach Irish to its academy players.
Lincoln City, the current leaders of League Two, placed the advert on its website.
"The purpose of this is to teach a scholar the Irish language as part of their Leaving Certificate from September 2019," the advert states.
The tutor would work "for approximately four hours per week", it adds.
The Leaving Certificate is the university matriculation examination in the Republic of Ireland and the final test of the Irish secondary school system.
Club spokesman Jez George said they were proactively seeking young players from Northern Ireland and the Republic, but realised the need for students from the Republic to pass their Irish examinations could be a stumbling block.
He said it was difficult to find an institution in Lincoln to offer Irish lessons.
An Irish dilemma
"We've started to look a little bit further afield at potential scholars we can sign," he added.
"We know that one of the challenges of young players coming over from the Republic of Ireland is finishing their Leaving Certificate.
"Many families feel that's really important and we want to try and be responsible in trying to not make them have to have a dilemma between an opportunity at a professional football club and their education."
Mr George said offering Irish could help the small club compete with larger clubs despite not having "the resources of the Man Citys or the Chelseas".
He insisted advertising for a tutor was not a stunt.
"Instead of us hitting a brick wall when we find a player we think would have a potential opportunity with us, we want to try and see if we can find a way round that.
"Usually the best way of doing that is to throw it out there so people with some information to help us come forward."