Airtricity League confirm that season will restart on July 31st
National League Executive Committee announced they have decided on option one
The Airtricity League will resume on July 31st. Photo: Brian Reilly-Troy/Inpho
After lengthy discussions over the last few months it has been confirmed that the Airtricity League will restart on July 31st with 18 matches to be played by each club, including those already played before the suspension.
Most of the contentious issues for clubs – namely how much money there was available to make up for limited gate recipts or none at all, the timing of the season’s conclusion and a format and schedule that allowed for the playing of the FAI Cup – had been ironed out in recent weeks and on Monday morning the National League Executive Committee decided to stick with option one for the restart of the season.
That option means the league will resume as planned with two rounds of fixtures, 18 in total, and counting results of matches played to date. One club will be automatically promoted to the Premier Division from the First Division, with one club automatically relegated.
A playoff will then take place between the ninth placed Premier Division club and the winner of the First Division playoff series involving the teams that finish second, third, fourth and fifth in that division. The winner of the playoff will play in the Premier Division in 2021.
Whether matches will be behind-closed-doors or with limited attendances was not mentioned in the statement. However, the government recently said that, once coronavirus cases remain stable, outdoor gatherings of up to 500 people will be permitted after July 20th.
That may give clubs the opportunity to allow limited attendances in stadiums with some hoping to at least allow season ticket holders in with social distancing in place.
A statement from the FAI said fixtures for the resumption will be announced in due course.