Football

The League of Ireland Will Return On July 31 Following Club Vote

The League of Ireland Will Return On July 31 Following Club Vote

The League of Ireland has confirmed its return to action on July 31 following a vote from all 19 clubs.

There had been several obstacles to the league's resumption, not least with regard to promotion and relegation. However, clubs have voted 10-9 on a structure for promotion and relegation that will see one automatic promotion spot and a playoff system.

Shamrock Rovers, who have a B team in the First Division, were the only Premier Division side to vote for the proposal. Other proposals included an increase to a 12 team Premier Division in 2021 and a mini-league between the bottom of the Premier Division and top of the First Division.

There had also been issues with regard to money for the league's return, with the FAI eventually increasing the prize pot for all 19 teams to around โ‚ฌ3.3 million.

Today, the National League Executive Committee have written to clubs regarding the structure for the 2020 season.

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FAI Deputy Interim CEO Niall Quinn has said that the news today is a relief and that it brings "clarity" to League of Ireland clubs for the coming months.

"Although [Option 1] isn't perfect for where all clubs wanted to be after the five matches, I think the clarity of it all means we can now concentrate on the football side of things."

Furthermore, the FAI Cup will return for the 2020 season.

There were talks about the competition returning for this season, with a worry that clubs would be stretched if they were forced to play in the national cup competition. The League Cup had already been cancelled due to COVID-19.

On the FAI Cup, Quinn mentioned that a distinct amount of the competition would be played after the conclusion of the League of Ireland season.

"The eight quarter-finalists would complete the FAI Cup after the league season has ended.

"They will be rewarded for getting to that point, that will help them financially to to get the games played for the following couple of weeks."

Fixtures for both the Premier and First Divisions will be announced in due course.

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Sean Meehan

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