FINN HARPS could return to action on June 19 with Irish football chiefs working towards a resumption for the SSE Airtricity League on that date.
Football across the world has ground to a halt due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the League of Ireland faces another 13 weeks without action.
Harps were represented today in a tele-conference call with the FAI and the National League Executive Committee.
The parties agreed to work to play as many games as possible and the plan is based around UEFA guidelines for a return to club football.
The League will be reduced by a full round of fixtures with the Premier Division now reduced to a 27-game season. The cull of the final round of fixtures will see five home games – including a derby with Derry City – cut from the roster.
The season has been extended into December with the Premier Division finishing on December 4 and the play-offs concluding on December 11.
The EA Sports Cup has been deferred while the FAI Cup final is listed for November 1.
“Both parties agreed to work together to play as many games as possible this season to minimise the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on attendances and sponsorship, and to consider the needs of clubs who have qualified for Europe,” a statement said.
“The new schedule will require the cancellation of the last round of fixtures in the Premier Division, now reduced to 27 games in total. Changes to the dates for European club fixtures may force alterations to the new calendar of games as the season develops and this will be continually reviewed.”
FAI Competitions Director Fran Gavin said: “These are very difficult times for our clubs and players and the FAI remains committed to doing everything we can to get us all through this crisis together.
“There are no certainties around the COVID-19 pandemic but this decision offers us something to aim for. UEFA hope to have European football back up and running by early June at the latest so June 19 is a realistic target for us at this moment in time.
“Together with the clubs and the Professional Footballer’s Association of Ireland, we will work together towards this date and continue to liaise with the NLEC and the PFAI to protect our clubs and players as best we can.
“The FAI will continue to work with the Department of Health and the HSE to prioritise the health of our players, match officials, supporters and staff at this time and we will continue to follow all government guidelines.”Tags: