League of Ireland clubs receive working document on potential behind closed doors return

Tue, Apr 28 2020

The FAI, in conjunction with both the NLEC and PFAI have drafted a working paper that has been sent to all League of Ireland clubs ahead of a potential ‘behind closed doors’ return.

The League of Ireland has been put on hold since March as a result of the current COVID-19 outbreak.

‘The working paper has been drafted following a video conference between all three parties on Tuesday when the PFAI submitted a high-level paper prepared by their world governing body FIFPRO on protocols around player safety’, as per the FAI’s statement.

All clubs have been asked to assess the document and return their views to the working group.

NLEC chairperson Noel Byrne said: “This working document is the next step in assessing what is best for Irish football if the HSE and the Government give the green light for a return to action, but behind closed doors.

“This document, produced by all stakeholders working together, presents options to the clubs and we look forward to their views when they have had a chance to study the document.”

PFAI General Secretary Stephen McGuinness added: “We welcome the opportunity to be part of this very important debate in these difficult times for Irish football.

“Our players are keen to support the efforts of the FAI and the NLEC to examine a return to football in a manner that is safe for all involved be they players, match officials or club staff.

“The FIFPRO document is a high-level recommendation and the FAI have put together the fine details of what playing behind closed doors looks like for all concerned.

“This is very much a work in progress with all stakeholders working together towards the best solution possible for our game in the event of a closed doors recommendation from the HSE and Government.”

Both the FAI and the NLEC are still ‘committed’ to looking at alternative income streams for SSE Airtricity League clubs in the event of a return to National League football behind closed doors.

Interim Deputy CEO of the FAI, Niall Quinn finished: “The working document presented to the clubs today offers a real platform for debate about a return to football when we get the go-ahead from Government and health officials.

“They will of course have the final say on when we return and under what circumstances, but it is imperative on us as a working group to present the best options available to our clubs.

“This document offers the clubs an insight into best practice for staging games behind closed doors.

“The Association also remains committed to exploring the best financial proposition available to our clubs and players at this time.

"Analysis of the financial impact of playing behind doors is well underway with our clubs and we are examining potential revenue streams from live streaming and other sources.

“This is a united effort and we look forward to further engagement with the NLEC, the PFAI, the referees and the clubs themselves.”