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June deadline for LOI return or season may be written off



FAI interim CEO Gary Owen. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

FAI interim CEO Gary Owen. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

FAI interim CEO Gary Owen. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

The League of Ireland will have to resume by June or clubs will have to consider scrapping the current campaign and starting afresh with a new campaign that would run through the winter.

Talks in the next 24 hours should lay out the preferred options of league members before they go back to the FAI to discuss contingency plans to cope with the great uncertainty created by the Covid-19 stoppage.

At this point, the various stakeholders are working off the assumption that the weekend of Saturday, June 6 is the earliest practical window for a resumption of action.

That is in line with communication from UEFA to their member associations on Tuesday, although the time-lines are all subject to review. FAI interim CEO Gary Owens has been involved in daily task force talks which are looking at contingency plans to cover all possibilities.

Clubs are opposed to resuming action with behind-closed-doors arrangements due to the financial impact that would be incurred.

Returning to play at the beginning of June would open up the possibility of finishing the 2020 season before the end of the year, although that may involve abolishing at least one cup competition or removing a series of fixtures.


However, if it is not deemed safe to come back in June, then momentum will swing towards writing off the 2020 season and kicking off a new campaign that would start later this year and continue into 2021.

The National League Executive Committee will today hold talks in an attempt to reach consensus on how football here should respond to the possible scenarios and that will be followed by a conference call tomorrow involving representatives from all clubs, with the FAI keen to have a firm plan in place next week.

Irish Independent