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We can help each other through coronavirus crisis if clubs split Euro money, says Larne owner Bruce

Kenny Bruce

Larne owner Kenny Bruce has urged clubs to accept a compromise deal regarding European prize money should the current season be unable to be completed.

And the wealthy director has also called for the current season to "be abandoned with no titles awarded and no promotion or relegation taking place".

That flies in the face of League leaders Linfield's position, outlined in Sunday Life last week by David Healy, that if the Premiership cannot be completed, the Blues should be named Champions and claim all the prize money that goes with it.

Crusaders had previously drawn up a raft of potential options and outcomes for dealing with the season, put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Shore Road club's favoured model was to divvy up the sum of the European prize money amongst all 12 Premiership clubs, with the seven clubs still able to qualify for Europe receiving more than the five clubs unable to.

In his missive to the other 11 top-flight clubs, Bruce (above) called for clear guidance from the Irish FA on how to make facilities safe and ruled out playing behind closed doors "without financial assistance".

In the event that the current season cannot be completed, Bruce suggested "three clubs will be nominated on a nominal basis, only with a sharing of the prize money amongst clubs using the Crusaders model", with "the season abandoned with no titles awarded and no promotion or relegation taking place".

Sunday Life Sport understands that Bruce feels he can count on the support of at least eight clubs for his proposals at present.

The issue of European prize money is clearly now the most immediate problem to be solved by the NI Football League, which must next month name three clubs for the IFA to in turn nominate to UEFA for the three available European spots.

UEFA suggested taking the current top three clubs in the league for the lucrative berths, which would see Linfield go into the Champions League and Coleraine and Crusaders take the two Europa League slots.

However, an alternative method being talked about is to nominate the three clubs going by league placings after 22 games, when each club had played all others home and away, which would see Cliftonville take top spot by a point, with Linfield second and Glentoran third.

Another option would be to use the mean UEFA co-efficient ratings over the last five years, which would see Linfield, Crusaders and Cliftonville take the European places.

The NIFL set up a Steering Committee to look into all options for finishing the season and proposals for handling issues such as titles, promotion and relegation and prize money, with findings expected to be delivered in the next 10 days.

Belfast Telegraph