The Irish FA have been asked to come to the aid of cash-strapped senior clubs.
As revealed in yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph, the 12 clubs in the Carling Premiership have suffered huge losses, totalling some £500,000, as the result of matches being postponed since Christmas with arctic conditions continuing to grip Northern Ireland.
With no income through the gate since before the festive break and bills as well as players’ wages still to be paid some clubs are feeling the financial chill.
Indeed half the clubs in the league haven’t had a home match since December 12, now four weeks ago, while Coleraine last played at the Showgrounds on November 28.
“The Executive Board have been asked to advance prize money to help out Premier League clubs who have cashflow problems due to postponements,” said Premier League chairman Jack Grundie.
“They will meet in due course to make the decision, but I don’t see any stumbling blocks.”
The club finishing bottom of the league is due to receive £21,000 and it is expected that each club who has asked for an advanced payment will be awarded that amount.
With four of the five Carling Premiership matches which were due to take place this Saturday already postponed the league programme is now 24 matches behind, which would cover four Saturdays, meaning that the season is now a full month behind schedule.
A schedule for the postponed matches was announced earlier in the week, which would see all outstanding fixtures played by the end of February, but further cancellations due to the weather could bring more problems.
“Extending the season would be a last resort for us, but one that may have to be considered,” said Grundie.
“It comes down to how some clubs pay their players. For certain clubs it would be no problem as some pay their players until the end of May, while there are other players who are paid 12 months of the year.
“At some clubs, players are on contracts which stop at the beginning of May and it would be a problem for them.”