Friday the 26th of June 2020 decision day. Today is the day that League of Ireland clubs must agree on a format for the seasons structure going forward.
It’s believed that clubs have already agreed on some aspects on the return of football. July 31st is pencilled in as the return for League of Ireland action. That will have the league finishing up on the 7th of November.
Financial support for clubs returning to football are in place. This is due to the Government committing €40 million. This money will be giving to the FAI, IRFU and GAA. Premier Division clubs are set to receive €190,000 on average to support them on their return to football. While First Division clubs are set to receive €67,000 on average.
While that is a big difference between both divisions. Finances don’t seem to be the issue this time round. The bigger issue is agreeing on a format. Particularly to accommodate the FAI Cup or not and how to approach promotion and relegation.
Some Premier Division sides have said that having relegation this season would be unfair. That due to the shortened season it isn’t enough time for two sides to fight off relegation places.
Its rumoured that these clubs are Waterford, Sligo Rovers, Cork City and St. Patricks Athletic. With St. Patricks Athletic owner Garrett Kelleher being very vocally against relegation.
However, the FAI are cracking down on this. They have told Premier Division clubs that they face relegation if they refuse to return to action this season.
They told clubs “Any club deciding not to finish the 2020 season will have their points zeroised and will be relegated at the end of the season in line with provisions of the Participation Agreement.”
This came after the FAI got legal advice to see if it was possible to come down hard on this issue.
Clubs will have to work hard to come to an agreement to make everyone happy. If this cant be done the FAI will have to impose their own structure.
The league isn’t the only competition that needs sorting out. The FAI Cup is also up for discussion.
The cup seems to be going ahead according to reports. The main issue lies in will the Europa League spot for the cup winners still be up for grabs.
This year’s cup may exclude non-league sides in the seasons new format. With the quarter finals, semi-finals and final itself will be played after the finish of the league season.
However due to the late nature of the final we could see a change in venue. The final as we know is usually held in the Aviva Stadium. This venue may not be possible for this years FAI Cup final. This is mainly due to availably around rugby dates causing complications.
Many big decisions are set to be made today. So, in such a newsworthy week for football more big headlines are on the way.
All us League of Ireland fans can do is sit and wait for that all-important news. It’s a big day for the league and time is of the essence.