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UEFA should have taken lead on how to finish seasons across Europe, blasts Coleraine chief Kearney



Coleraine manager Oran Kearney

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney

Oran Kearney has questioned the leadership at UEFA, stating that one consistent approach to finishing seasons across Europe ought to have been put in place when the coronavirus pandemic halted football back in March.

Since then, the Coleraine boss has watched, wondered and winced at times at events which has seen the top flight of Northern Ireland football rip itself apart.

Though second place in the Premiership guarantees Europa League football for the Bannsiders, questions will linger about the title, given that the Showgrounds side were just four points behind Linfield with seven games left.

In Kearney's first campaign back at the club, a treble was a possibility. Now he will look to add the Irish Cup to the League Cup to complete a knockout double.

"We have made great progress," said Kearney.

"The disappointing bit is there will always be that what-if feeling because I think the title race would have gone to the wire.

"Linfield were in pole position, but we were in a good place and, with our momentum, you never know who would have won it."

Kearney added that lessons needed to be learnt about the last three months.

He said: "The whole process 12 weeks ago was on a hiding to nothing.

"Lessons need to be learnt from everyone in this right up to UEFA, who, for me, instead of allowing all the leagues to come up with their own ideas about finishing, should have been putting out a consistent rationale across the board.

"You look at England, Germany and Spain, with all the money that their top leagues have and being able to do testing and play without crowds, then you look at Scotland, where there has been carnage and legal issues and, of course, we had what happened in the Irish League.

"The NIFL Board have been criticised, but when it comes to something as big as this, UEFA should have rolled out a protocol of how every league should be finished and that way there is consistency rather than what has happened in leagues across Europe, where it has been like every man for themselves.

"People have said the last three months have not shown the Irish League in a good light.

"I would say the lack of leadership from UEFA has meant it hasn't helped football across Europe in general. That lack of leadership has hurt everyone."

Belfast Telegraph