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FAI confident clubs won't derail plan for League of Ireland return


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Derry's Alex Cooper in action against Jack Byrne of Shamrock Rovers. Pic: Donal Hackett

Derry's Alex Cooper in action against Jack Byrne of Shamrock Rovers. Pic: Donal Hackett

While St Pat’s are said to be unwilling to take the matter further, Sligo Rovers and Waterford FC had both previously said they would explore “all options” to have the format changed and get the play-off removed. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

While St Pat’s are said to be unwilling to take the matter further, Sligo Rovers and Waterford FC had both previously said they would explore “all options” to have the format changed and get the play-off removed. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

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Derry's Alex Cooper in action against Jack Byrne of Shamrock Rovers. Pic: Donal Hackett

The FAI are confident they can avoid a legal challenge, which would disrupt the restart of the 2020 League of Ireland season, after the association's board last night ratified a decision to resume the campaign with the existing format of promotion and relegation.

A number of angry Premier Division clubs had asked for a review of Tuesday's decision by the National League Executive Committee (NLEC) to continue the season, with a shortened format of just 18 games and with the option of two places for promotion or relegation, one via a play-off, as top-flight clubs wanted just one team to go up and one team to go down.

A letter to the FAI from St Patrick's Athletic, which claimed to have the backing of the majority of clubs in the Premier Club Alliance (PCA), said with the NLEC decision, "the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the Premier Division clubs have been ignored".

Legal

The FAI directors discussed the matter at a board meeting yesterday, where they considered the PCA letter and the legal advice given to the association around the four options available to restart the season. After the board meeting, an FAI statement confirmed the season was back on track and will resume on July 31.

"The Board of the Football Association of Ireland has this evening approved the decision of the National League Executive Committee, made on the 30th of June, to resume the SSE Airtricity League," the statement said.

Sligo Rovers and Waterford FC had both previously said they would explore "all options" to have the format changed and get the play-off removed.

"Everyone just wants to get the season going again, we'd be surprised if any of the clubs took it further and took a legal case," an FAI source said last night.

Irish Independent