NIFL looking to complete the season: granted extension by IFA

Wheelbarrow

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The IFA have granted an extension to the NI Football League, covering the upper divisions of NI football, to complete the 19/20 season.

President David Martin also explained that the IFA Football Committee last night moved to provide clarity to clubs relating to player contracts and registrations and insisted that he would like to see the Irish Cup competition played to a finish on the pitch.

It will be up to each league to make arrangements for the remaining games at each level.

 

NI_Glens

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It's hard to see this happening as clubs can't afford to finish the season behind closed doors with the cost of testing etc. There is an ever growing feeling that it needs to just be finished now for the season - although all the usual arguments around how the season should come to an end are kicking about. WIth NIFL, who knows what they will end up deciding.
 

Wheelbarrow

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I did wonder if there was an element of buck-passing going on - the IFA grant the extension knowing full well that clubs and league won't be in a position to fund the games, but the FA can say "well, it wasn't our fault"

Especially with headlines like "Outcry in Wales shows why we're refusing to rush Irish League season decision, says NIFL chief" linked to in that article!

But you're right: nothing would surprise me...
 

Harry West

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Saturday 06 Jun 2020
Irish FA: Covid-19 recovery plan update
The Irish FA has issued an updated document looking ahead to measures to help an incremental return of grassroots football to Northern Ireland.

The measures will be introduced from Monday 8 June.



Some subjects that the document will include are as follows:


  • Playing football individually.
  • Playing football with your family or people living in your household.
  • Football training or fitness activities in groups of no more than six keeping two metres apart at all times.
  • Training for two or more groups of six (including coach).

The document will also cover suggested safety instructions and hygiene protocols. You can download the full Covid-19 recovery plan below.
 

NI_Glens

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1 of the local rags was carrying a story saying 4 proposals on the table to clubs:

- Void league totally (inc no relegation). Nominate current top 3 (Linfield, Coleraine, Crusaders for Europe).

- End season on current position but try and play Irish Cup. Europe to 3 above (with exception of Crusaders only being in should the Irish Cup not be able to be completed). Institute relegated.

- Resume and complete 2 sets of fixtures so everyone has played 3 times then end season. Play Irish Cup to a conclusion.

- Roll back and consider league position after 22 games but do not crown any Champions nor any relegation. European places would go to the top 3 at that point who would be Cliftonville, Linfield and Glentoran.

Not sure how genuine article is and no mention whether European money would be to the 3 sides as usual or split more to reflect that technically 7 clubs still had a European chance when league ceased..
 

NI_Glens

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(y)Of course ;).

I just can't see any more football being played this season. If I had to bet I would say the ending as current will be the end result and then a bun fight for the European money.

I could also see UEFA looking to scrap the early rounds to try and catch up and just offering the prize money instead - I wonder if that was the case whether any money would make it to the clubs or just like the virus emergency money stay in the central coffers :rolleyes:
 

NI_Glens

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Down to 2 options now

- Play 2 more games to get to 33 games then cease.
- End now using an unknown formula derived by an Independent panel.

I think both of the above would try and get the Irish Cup completed.

Apparently only 3/12 clubs are in favour of option 1 and annoyance also at how the formula in option 2 isn't being revealed.

Finally clubs also annoyed that this has dragged on so long yet clubs only given <48 hours from being advised of options to vote.
 

NI_Glens

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No updates to give as lost track a bit - only thing I know is that nothing has been decided yet!
 

NI_Glens

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According to the BBC the decision has now been deferred until after UEFA discussions next week: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53013016

Has any information come out yet about the mystery formula the independent panel is proposing?
A summary based on a little bit of facts, lots of hearsay and rumours:

- End now: Clubs have not been told what this formula would be (not even seen any rumours either as to what it would be) and therefore most are saying they can't vote for something unknown. All clubs have been told is that it would be a formula, set by some unknown independent panel that will uphold sporting integrity.

- Play 2 more games in short term: Most clubs saying this isn't financially feasible with testing costs, no fans, taking players off furlough etc. Other questions raised include what if player is currently abroad and has 14 day quarantine to uphold before any training, what if 2 goalkeepers test positive. Crusaders have also wrote an open letter to the NI Executive expressing concerns about this approach and impact on players safety.

Realistically this is all about the European money. Glens/Crues in the main seem to be pushing for sharing across league (although not seen how it would be shared out) which has (unsurprisingly) got the majority (9/12) of other clubs on board. However Linfield & Coleraine (the 2 who would have pretty much been guaranteed European football before this all started) are refusing this idea and Cliftonville are saying they are considering all options) - and it's unclear if sharing is even possible as talk that all clubs would need to agree this for UEFA to sanction.

The counter proposal being branded around was for the league to complete to a finish much later in the year but roll-back to take results from the first set of games between each club home and away and use this to determine the 3 European teams - but with money shared. Doing this though would result in Cliftonville going into the Champions League despite currently being 10 points behind Linfield, and Coleraine missing out completely despite winning league cup, in semis of Irish Cup and challenging Linfield at the top of the league!

So who knows what will happen - I wonder if they are waiting to see if Wednesday confirms a) Whether there will even be European entries (talks of early stages being scrapped and just a cash pot being paid) and b) What is allowable with sharing monies.

I suspect if it became clear that monies couldn't be shared then a lot of clubs would swing behind the end season at current point proposal.

All a guess through!
 

NI_Glens

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Meeting tonight has ended with no agreement.

Clubs to reconvene over the weekend with aim of finding a solution by Monday.
 

NI_Glens

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I'm sure there will be an article somewhere that will carry the current situation but it is believed to be a proposal by Crusaders that is now being considered which is (approx.):

This Season - End now with current position. Linfield Champions, no relegation, Portadown/Ballinamallard promoted. Irish Cup to be completed.

Next Season - 14 team league, Split into 6/8 after playing everyone twice then play a further 2 games. 3 relegated, 1 promoted to return to 12 team league for 21/22.

Europe Nominations - Linfield (Champions League), Coleraine (Europa) the Irish Cup winners (Cliftonville/Glentoran/Ballymena If competition can be played by 3 August) or Crusaders (if cup isn't complete as 3rd place team or if Coleraine win cup).

European Money - This is where it gets a bit crazy

Linfield - Receive Champions league money less 30% to assist funding below.
Coleraine/AN Other - Receive Europa League money less 20% to assist funding below.

9 teams who aren't nominated for Europe - £50k
The 3 teams mentioned earlier (plus Larne who technically could still have secured Europe via league) - additional £75k (there is debate over whether it is £125k or £75k) but the poster did include the key point in bold.

Championship Teams - £10k each
Intermediate Teams - £5k each

Above would be funded by league taking a loan and this being repaid by European money given up by the 3 teams plus 20% of European monies earned by clubs in Europe over the subsequent 2 seasons.
 

NI_Glens

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Apologies for being repetitive. Today's meeting ended and seems that they will be meeting again tomorrow.....no one seems quite sure what happens should this stalemate carry on!

It's getting pretty tedious for all now I think!
 

NI_Glens

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We finally have a decision but not a complete one!!!

The league has concluded at this point - however it will be determined by an unknown mathematical formula.

The main places of uncertainty are 3rd/4th (currently Crusaders/Cliftonville on goal difference) however 3rd could be key should the Irish Cup not be played or is won by Coleraine as 3rd place would take a European spot in those situations.

It is assumed Institute will be relegated but until the formula has been confirmed, no one can be totally sure.

Full Statement: http://www.nifootballleague.com/news/2020/june/statement-23-june-2020/
 

paulh66

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It's interesting that this mathematical model "will follow best practice across other leagues in Europe and in accordance with UEFA principles" yet they don't indicate when it will be available. Wonder if they're waiting for the legal challenges in Scotland, Belgium and potentially France to play out? Even though the gist of those isn't so much the model applied but the alleged prejudice in how it was arrived at (which I guess, given the use of an independent consultancy, isn't a criticism that can be applied in the case of NI), there may be some key principles emerging from those cases - particularly on the issue of relegations - that need to be taken into account.
 

NI_Glens

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(which I guess, given the use of an independent consultancy, isn't a criticism that can be applied in the case of NI
Over here I don't think there is ever an Independent anything - usually someone's mate gets a pay off somehow ;). Larne chairman has become quite vocal on Twitter saying the Cliftonville chairman has played a blinder as they will get 3rd on this model.

Now also conspiracy theories that if Cliftonville get this 3rd place, then it would be in their interests to have the Irish Cup (which they are still in) cancelled on health grounds to be granted the final European spot....
 

NI_Glens

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Apologies if should be a separate thread - details of Irish Cup released:

Semi Finals - Both on Monday 27 July (4pm and 8pm)

Final - Friday 31 July (8pm)

All games at the National Stadium behind closed doors.
 

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