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PFAI secretary calls on League of Ireland clubs to accept Premier Division proposal

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PFAI General Secretary Stephen McGuinness. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

PFAI General Secretary Stephen McGuinness. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

PFAI General Secretary Stephen McGuinness. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

The body which represents League of Ireland players has appealed to clubs to accept Tuesday's decision to resume the 2020 season on July 31st and back off from any possible challenge.

An FAI statement earlier today confirmed that the season would return on July 31st, with a series of 18 league games as well as the FAI Cup, but with a season which sticks to the original format. That allowed for one place each for automatic promotion and relegation, but also with a playoff between the side which finishes second from bottom in the Premier division and the winners of a playoff in the second tier deciding another top flight place.

But a majority of Premier Division clubs wanted a one up, one down format to ease fears of relegation from such a shortened season by removing one of the possible relegation slots. Shamrock Rovers were the only Premier club to vote for the current format in a ballot this morning.

Talks between Premier clubs are planned for Tuesday evening as those teams assess this morning's decision, with Waterford FC stating they may not be in a position to return to play, an added complication for the Blues in needing to put their UK-based players into a 14-day quarantine before they can train again, although Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers confirmed their intentions on resuming action, though Sligo are clearly unhappy.

"This format proposed today was of particular disappointment to the club and is something we sternly object to. We believe it is grossly unfair, unjust and do not see the matter as concluded. We will be having further discussions on this issue with relevant parties," the club said in a statement.

Stephen McGuinness, general secretary of players' union, the PFAI, said he hopes the league can now resume.

"From the players' point of view there's relief that a decision has been made but we would plead for no more legal action as that was mooted in the past," PFAI General Secretary Stephen McGuinness told Virgin Media News.

"So we are hopeful that clubs in both divisions accept the decision and we can get back to playing football, I would encourage clubs to accept the decision today."

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