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Irish Premiership big hitters given licence to thrill but Bangor rejected


Raring to go: Stephen Baxter's Crusaders

Raring to go: Stephen Baxter's Crusaders

Raring to go: Stephen Baxter's Crusaders

The Irish Football Association yesterday confirmed that all 12 Danske Bank Premiership clubs have received their top-flight licences for next season.

In addition, Ballinamallard United, Ballymena United, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crusaders, Glenavon, Glentoran, Linfield and Portadown have all been awarded Uefa Licences, which will allow them to compete in European competitions next year should they qualify on the field.

Notably, Dungannon Swifts did not apply for a Uefa Licence, which means they are not eligible for this year's inaugural Europa League Play-Off, even if they finish seventh.

Should Ballymena qualify and eventually win the Play-Off - for which Cliftonville, Coleraine and Glentoran have already secured their places - they will use Seaview for their continental commitments.

Ards and Institute have both been granted a Promotion Licence, which means they can play in next season's Premiership should they earn promotion. Ards currently lead Championship One, while Stute are likely to snap-up the Promotion/Relegation Play-Off spot.

Yesterday's announcements also confirmed that Bangor's application for a Championship Licence was rejected.

As a result, the 98-year-old club will drop into the third tier of Irish League football for the first time in their history. The Seasiders were the only Championship One club not to be granted the mandatory licence, which means they will drop into the re-branded Premier Intermediate League along with bottom-two clubs Lisburn Distillery and Donegal Celtic.

Glentoran were, meanwhile, fined £250 for failing to attend a mandatory meeting relating to the Laws of the Game.

In a statement, the IFA said: "The Committee unanimously agreed that Glentoran FC should be sanctioned for failure to have club representatives attend the session in respect of Uefa stipulated Refereeing Matters and Laws of the Game."

Belfast Telegraph