The Football Association of Ireland has agreed to allow Airtricity League Premier Division club Shamrock Rovers field a second team in the First Division next season.
Following the decision of Mervue United and Salthill Devon to withdraw from the First Division in favour of a new Galway entity, the FAI sought expressions of interest and received several applications, all of which received due consideration.
The decision to allow Shamrock Rovers enter a second team follows a period of discussion between the Association and the club to iron out the obvious issues that occur when a club has teams in the Premier and First Divisions.
The parameters which will apply to Shamrock Rovers include:
• The First Division team will not be eligible for promotion or the play-offs.
• Shamrock Rovers will play the full First Division affiliation fee.
• The First Division team will not be allowed to enter the EA SPORTS Cup or the FAI Ford Cup.
• Disciplinary sanctions imposed on Shamrock Rovers players will apply to both teams.
• From their Premier Division squad, Shamrock Rovers will be permitted to play a maximum of three outfield players and a goalkeeper in First Division fixtures.
Fran Gavin, Director of the Airtricity League stated: "This is the first time that we have allowed a club to field a second team in a lower division of the League. However, it is not unusual in a European context as this is the norm in countries such Spain, Germany, France, Norway, Holland, Switzerland and Portugal.
"It was an idea that came from the club and once they embraced the parameters we required them to operate within we approved the application."
Subject to all clubs receiving licences, the 2014 First Division will consist of the following eight clubs: Cobh Ramblers, Finn Harps, Galway, Longford Town, Shamrock Rovers, Shelbourne, Waterford United and Wexford Youths.
Shamrock Rovers will continue to field a team in the Airtricity U19 League.