We began to think this day would never come but we can finally say it. The League of Ireland is back baby.
After all the stories coming out and advancing talks, we finally have some solid plans. It’s been a frustrating and an embarrassing wait for all involved with the league. Of course, it’s not perfect and not everyone will be happy but here we go. At least we finally have a resolution.
Last week League of Ireland clubs were put on the spot. They had until Friday 26th of June to agree on a format to the return of football. That date came and went without any decisions been made.
The advancing talks seemed endless. Thankfully today the National League Executive Committee (NLEC) ruled that the SSE Airtricity League will return on the 31st of July.
This came after a meeting this morning at the FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown. The NLEC has written to all League of Ireland clubs today. This was to say they have decided on option one out of four options on how to resume the league.
This will see the League of Ireland return on Friday the 31st of July. The season will come to an end when all teams play 18 games. This means there will only be two rounds of fixtures this season. With each club only playing each other twice once at home and once away. All results and points from the season so far will stand.
This means Shamrock Rovers hold a three-point lead over Dundalk on five games in the Premier Division. Along with Cabinteely leading Drogheda United and Longford Town by three points in the First Division. With the two latter teams having a game in hand.
Financial support for clubs returning to football are in place since last week. 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.
A huge difference between both divisions. Despite some first division clubs’ outgoings on wages being like those of a lower level Premier Division club.
Relegation and promotion were the biggest issue in terms of getting football back in Ireland. After all that promotion and relegation will remain the same.
The bottom place club from the Premier Division will be automatically relegated to the First Division. While the winners of the First Division will be automatically promoted to the Premier Division. There will then be a play off series between the teams that finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th in the First Division. The winner of that play off series will face the 9th place club from the Premier Division. Ultimately the winner of that game will play in the 2021 Premier Division season.
That will certainly annoy teams that were against two teams getting relegated after only 18 games.
The rumour is that 500 fans will be allowed to attend the games. With this number including match day volunteers. For now, that is just a rumour.
This is a breaking story, and this is all the information we have at that moment. When we have more information on crowds, the FAI Cup and other issues we will have them to you ASAP.
According to the SSE Airtricity League statement fixtures will be announced “in due course.”
People will be arguing on the forums because that’s just what we do. Lets just be happy that the league we love so much is back. Roll on July 31st.