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NI Football League 'committed' to finishing 19/20 domestic season

 

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The Irish Football Association has so far suspended football until April 30.

The Irish Football Association has so far suspended football until April 30.

The Irish Football Association has so far suspended football until April 30.

The Northern Ireland Football League has confirmed that it remains committed to completing the 19/20 football season.

The Dankse Bank Premiership, Bluefin Sport Championship and Premier Intermediate League have all been suspended while the start of the 2020 Women's Premiership has been delayed, with the Irish FA confirming that football will not return before April 30.

The NI Football League has indicated, unsurprisingly, that the actual date of a resumption of the season is impossible to predict but has reiterated a desire to ensure competitions are played to completion.

"Following further guidance received from the European Leagues we remain committed at this stage to completing the current NI Football League season at Premiership, Championship and Premier Intermediate League level. There is also a commitment to still contest the 2020 Women’s Premiership season this year," said a NIFL statement.

"In reality, it remains impossible to commit to a date when competitions could resume, this will of course depend on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and the guidance from the UK Government & health authorities but most importantly when it is safe for everyone to return to a sporting arena."

The Danske Bank Premiership and Championship have seven full rounds of fixtures outstanding, while clubs in the Premier Intermediate League have up to eight games left to play.

The commitment to completing the season is no shock, following a letter from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, the chairman of the European Club Association Andrea Agnelli, and Lars-Christer Olsson, president of European Leagues, which indicated that a premature termination of a domestic season could risk clubs not being permitted into European competition.

Such is the magnitude of the financial windfall available for competing in the Champions League and Europa League tournaments, the income is a significant boost to Irish League clubs.

NIFL is working with the Irish FA and the European League is relation to drawing up a potential calendar for the remainder of the season.

"The NI Football League remains committed to continuing to assist our member clubs with support and guidance, including in relation to funding and financial support. The health and wellbeing of fans, staff and players and the wider community remains the NI Football League’s highest priority at this time," concluded the statement.

Belfast Telegraph