Irish League season finally over with mathematical formula to decide outcome
After weeks of meetings and discussions the Danske Bank Premiership 2019/20 season has ended with a mathematical formula to decide who wins the Gibson Cup and secure European places for next season.
Linfield, who currently sit at the top of the Premier Division table are in pole position to claim the title, with second placed Coleraine likely to take one of the Europa League spots, the other will be taken by the Irish Cup winners, with that competition likely to be completed next month.
However if the Bannsiders win the cup, then the team who finishes in third spot will get that final Europa League place.
At the other end of the table, basement side Institute look set to be relegated with Bluefin Sport Championship winners Portadown replacing them and making a return to the top flight.
Tuesday morning's NI Football League issued statement:
The NI Football League can provide an update on the conclusion of the 2019/2020 season following a meeting of the NIFL Board on Monday evening.
The NIFL Board sought to consider the submissions provided by all clubs across each of the divisions and express their thanks for feedback and patience of all clubs during this challenging process.
Throughout the process a range of options to either resume or curtail Season 2019/20 were appraised against the key principles of health, finance and sporting integrity and while each option impacted the key principles in their own specific way the Board has endeavoured to make decisions in the best interest of the NI Football League.
With key information from UEFA and feedback from members now received, in which the majority favoured curtailment of the season - it is acknowledged that no decision could be made to fully satisfy all members but the NIFL Board believe the following decisions are the fairest and most equitable, as well as the only viable options available.
In summary: • Confirmation that the current (2019/2020) league seasons will be curtailed immediately.
• A mathematical model will be applied to determine the final standings in each division.
• The mathematical model will be determined by an independent football data consultancy. Any model adopted will follow best practice across other leagues in Europe and in accordance with UEFA principles.
• In line with previous proposals, there will be titles awarded to the winners of each division and automatic promotion & relegation between divisions. This will not be confirmed until after the determination of the independent consultants is finalised.
• The 2020 NIFL Women’s Premiership and Women’s Academy League seasons will be played later this year in a reduced format.
Finally, the NI Football League recognise the future challenges ahead for our clubs and has committed to work with members and other key stakeholders to establish a NIFL Covid-19 Recovery Scheme