FINN HARPS players will return to training this week for the first time since the Covid-19 lockdown.
While the League of Ireland’s clubs have yet to receive a re-start date for the 2020 season, Friday’s announcement that sport can resume from June 29 means a resumption is imminent.
The SSE Airtricity League season was suspended in March following the Covid-19 outbreak. Harps had played just four games at the time of the cessation of action.
The four clubs in the League who had qualified for Europe – Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians, and Derry City – were allowed to return to training on 8 June and several rounds of testing for Covid-19 have all returned negative.
Clubs are set to meet early this week to explore a potential date for a return to action.
Ollie Horgan’s first team squad will get back to training this week with the Donegal club to use the Finn Valley Centre in Stranorlar as a base to get work underway.
Harps’ players who had been based abroad during the lockdown are all expected to return to Ballybofey ahead of the resumption of the season.
That prospect had been in some doubt after an initial financial package was met with disappointment. However, Premier Division clubs, including Harps, have been told that they can expect to receive around €190,000 under a new deal.
The FAI Board have yet to rubber-stamp the plan, which is still believed to be dependent on sourcing third-party support from the government and Sport Ireland.
The increased support package, totalling around €3 million, for clubs was partly enabled by the scrapping of the suggestion that clubs would play neutral games.
Now, though, it seems that there may be a short period of behind-closed-doors matches before spectators are allowed to return, likely in limited numbers.
Last week, Harps have outlined ambitious plans to raise €30,000 to help bring Finn Park up to scratch with Covid-19 compliances.
Harps are exploring plans to make modifications to the exiting dressing room area and to add the provision of a new temporary dressing room for the away team, match officials and a medical room.
The dated Navenny Street venue falls short of the licensing criteria but with the club hoping to press on with the development of a new stadium in Stranorlar, football chiefs have been sympathetic.
The temporary measures to be included in the works to Finn Park include adding temporary accommodation, which could be utilised at the new stadium in the future.Tags: