Relegation a key issue as League of Ireland talks continue

Optimism is growing the postponed domestic season could resume from July 31st

Sligo Rovers were rooted to the bottom of the Premier Division when the season was postponed. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

Sligo Rovers were rooted to the bottom of the Premier Division when the season was postponed. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

Your Web Browser may be out of date. If you are using Internet Explorer 9, 10 or 11 our Audio player will not work properly.
For a better experience use Google Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

 

Relegation has become a key issue in the ongoing talks between the FAI and clubs aimed at restarting the League of Ireland season. A final decision has yet to be taken on whether to stage the FAI Cup or not but the latest version of the schedule, which envisages an October 31st conclusion to the campaign, suggests that while the final might still be held a week later, the competition may not happen this year.

With significant progress made on the money front this week and a growing sense that testing will not be required for games staged in clubs’ own stadiums, there is far more optimism that the season will resume on July 31st.

Having started the season so poorly, however, Sligo Rovers are said to be wary of a situation in which they would have only 14 games to battle their way out of the drop zone and clubs like Finn Harps, Waterford and Cork City will also have concerns about their top flight status being threatened amid the coronavirus-related mayhem.

The association’s inclination had been to proceed on the basis there would be relegation, but Uefa is said to have been approached for its view on the potential reallocation of the FAI’s Cup European spot for this season and the question of whether relegation could be done away with for a year.

If it is completely, then the association will face the option of telling First Division clubs that there will be no promotion this year or expanding the top flight, at least on a temporary basis. The former approach would mean large numbers of meaningless games in both divisions.

“I think not having relegation would open up all sorts of integrity issues,” says Stephen McGuinness of players’ union, the PFAI. “It wouldn’t be a great situation to get into where games against teams with nothing to play for were deciding the league and there would be a lot of games with nothing at stake.”

Another issue still being addressed is streaming. The intention is to sell access to streamed games for €5 each with season long passes for €55 (within Ireland) and €69 (overseas). Existing season ticket holders at clubs are only to be offered a discount on passes rather than free access, something that will impact on the level of compensation clubs might have to offer their most loyal fans.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.