Belfast Telegraph

Relegation scrapped for Premier Intermediate League season as NIFL confirm Lurgan Celtic withdrawal

The NI Football League has confirmed that there will be no relegation from this year's Premier Intermediate League following the withdrawal of Lurgan Celtic.

The County Armagh club released a statement to the Belfast Telegraph last week to outline their plans to pull out of the division, citing financial difficulties and problems attracting players.

There was subsequent hope that external support could allow the club to reverse their original decision but the move was confirmed by the league on Monday afternoon.

The NI Football League's third tier will now be contested by the remaining 11 clubs, with Celtic's departure meaning that no team will drop through the trap door into the regional divisions at the end of the season.

Promotion will remain open to clubs that win the top tier of the regional leagues.

"The NI Football League can confirm that Lurgan Celtic today have formally withdrawn from the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League with immediate effect," read a NIFL statement.

"Following notification to the league from Lurgan Celtic on Thursday 15 August, the Premier Intermediate League committee convened an emergency meeting the following day to consider this communication.

"Further communication received from Lurgan Celtic on Friday 16 August advised the league of a potential external support package being made available to the club. The Premier Intermediate League granted the club further time to explore this opportunity and provide assurances of their ongoing viability to the committee by Monday.

"Lurgan Celtic have today (Monday 19 August) advised the NI Football League that they will uphold their original decision to withdraw from all NIFL competitions.

"The NI Football League can confirm that the 2019/2020 Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League will be contested by the remaining eleven clubs, the league can also confirm there be no relegation from the Premier Intermediate League this season."

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