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More headaches for clubs but they could receive a funding boost

 

There are a lot of questions around Irish League football at the moment and precious little answers.

That's not surprising given the scale of this coronavirus crisis.

There's a desperation to finish the domestic season in a fair way and the Northern Ireland Football League has set up an internal steering group to "devise solutions".

Their task is not an easy one and it would be ironic if summer football was thrust upon us after a few years of talking about it but doing nothing.

The Irish FA suspended all football matches until April 4 but expect that date to be pushed back, with English football now suspended until at least April 30.

Uefa wants all domestic and European club competitions completed by June 30.

But here's where the questions keep coming.

What happens with players' contracts?

How are clubs training? Will we play matches behind closed doors in a worse case scenario? How about an Irish Cup Final behind closed doors?

Will clubs be compensated for lost earnings?

Could next season be shortened if this one drags on?

On the question of easing clubs' financial headaches, NIFL managing director, Andrew Johnston, has indicated support will be provided, saying: "At the end of the season, we would have been due to provide payments to clubs but that is something we will review to see if we can bring forward some of the payments."

Where you will find consensus among the clubs is the desire to finish the season.

But for as long as this virus keeps spreading, we will be asking questions and not receiving answers.

The Irish FA stated: "At present, no affiliated football is being played in Northern Ireland until Saturday April 4, however, that restart date is subject to a review of the situation."

Irish FA chief executive, Patrick Nelson, rightly wants us to remain united, but at the moment it's united in hope rather than expectation.

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