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LOI games to be spread across three days per week when action resumes

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Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers will battle it out for the title when play resumes

Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers will battle it out for the title when play resumes

SPORTSFILE

Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers will battle it out for the title when play resumes

League of Ireland Premier Division games will be spread across three days when football returns later this month.

The final details of the FAI's streaming plan are pending the agreement of host broadcasters RTE and Eir Sport but the fixture list for the remaining 13 rounds of the curtailed 2020 campaign will feature a break from a strict Friday night focus.

Instead, the intention is to have two games on Friday - with an early kickoff and a late kick-off - and then two games at different intervals on Saturday with the final game of a series on a Sunday or potentially a Monday with various kickoff times being explored.

There are complications to negotiate in devising the schedule and making all games available via a streaming platform.

The Friday evening matches (with a possible kickoff time of 5.45) will be geared towards full-time sides as part-time players at Finn Harps have written to the FAI to outline how that might present difficulty for those with day jobs.

Abbotstown officials had already acknowledged they were aware of this issue in meetings with clubs.

Meanwhile, clarity has to be reached on whether games selected by RTE and Eir will also be available on a streaming season ticket that will be open to all.

All of these scenarios are being formed in the anticipation that only 500 people will be allowed into the stadium for each game and that includes players, staff, officials and media.

Bohemians wrote to members and season ticket holders earlier this week to say they would be effectively be rotating around 400 tickets for their home games, and outlined how they would purchase an SSE Airtricity League season ticket for all their members and season ticket holders.

"This will include access to not only all Bohemians home and away games from your own home, but also access to all SSE Airtricity League Premier Division games for the remainder of the season," read the letter.

The finer points of the streaming packages and how they would function in line with broadcasting deals still has to be formally agreed.

It is anticipated that arrangements will be reviewed around six weeks or so after the July 31 restart to see if they are working.

There is a hope that spreading out fixtures will result in a greater amount of streaming income.

However, the fact that revenue is being shared out amongst all 19 clubs - even though First Division matches won't be screened - is a source of contention at Premier Division level.

It had been flagged at an early stage, yet there was no real opposition voiced at that stage with Premier club officials indicating they felt it would function a form of consolation in the anticipation that relegation rules would be tweaked to see just one club go down and one come up.

Now that the FAI board have ratified the National League Executive Committee decision to stick with the status quo (which leaves open the possibility of two up and two down) top flight clubs are unhappy with the streaming divide.

It is just one of their lingering concerns about the process that reached the decision and an appeal of some description remains a possibility.

Online Editors