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League to decide European spots if Irish Cup axed

 

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Crusaders captain Colin Coates lifts the Irish Cup (Inpho/Stephen Hamilton)

Crusaders captain Colin Coates lifts the Irish Cup (Inpho/Stephen Hamilton)

Inpho/Stephen Hamilton

Crusaders captain Colin Coates lifts the Irish Cup (Inpho/Stephen Hamilton)

Uefa will award Northern Ireland's third European place to the team that finishes third in the Danske Bank Premiership if this season's Irish Cup is scrapped due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Irish Football Association said they intend to complete both the Premiership and Irish Cup if possible.

However, Uefa told their 55 associations that the European places for any tournament that does not take place would be awarded on league position.

"Uefa have strongly encouraged all national associations to complete their season and identify Champions League and Europa League entrants the normal way," the IFA said in a statement.

The semi-finals of the Irish Cup - Ballymena United against Coleraine and Cliftonville against Glentoran - were due to take place last month at The Oval and Windsor Park.

Uefa confirmed at Wednesday's teleconference that the draws for next season's European competitions, normally held in June, had been suspended indefinitely.

Meanwhile, Donaghadee Football Club have written to Amateur League chairman Terry Pateman outlining their strong opposition to his suggestion that the current season should be voided due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Jamie Bryson, on behalf of the club's committee, stated he wanted to raise concerns regarding legal and procedural faults in the proposal.

All football within Northern Ireland is currently suspended until April 30 at the earliest and league officials are struggling to work out how to finish campaigns.

With over 550 Amateur League games remainingn, Pateman believes completing the divisions and cup competitions could be an impossible task.

The Amateur League management committee told the IFA their preferred option was to void the season.

Donaghadee, however, have argued that if the season was voided then clubs could be disproportionally disadvantaged.

In the letter, which has also been forwarded to the Irish FA, it is also claimed that the NAFL Management Committee could be in breach of contract and legal action could be considered.

Belfast Telegraph