Northern Ireland officials announce Championship start date but ‘flexible’ approach for Premier Intermediate League fixtures

Northern Ireland Football League officials have announced a much-anticipated Championship kick-off date - but uncertainty remains for Premier Intermediate League clubs.

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 10:09 pm
Manager Ciaran McGurgan and his Annagh United side will compete this season in the Championship following promotion as Premier Intermediate League champions.

Danske Bank Premiership clubs launch the top-flight 2020/21 season next weekend but the second and third tiers of the Irish League structure will miss out as a PSNI case against Championship relegation remains “under the consideration of the IFA Appeals Board”.

A NIFL statement has now revealed Saturday, October 24 as a provisional start date for the Championship but issues around the Irish Cup and other knockout ties will result in “a more flexible basis to provide fixtures” for PIL teams.

“The outstanding appeal in respect of the conclusion of the 2019/20 Championship season, which also impacts the Premier Intermediate League, remains under the consideration of the IFA Appeals Board,” included the NIFL statement. “The IFA Appeals Board have today confirmed that they anticipate that a decision in respect of this appeal will be announced at the beginning of next week (w/c 12 October 2020).

“The above timeline is currently outside of the control of the NI Football League.

“As a consequence of the above, the NIFL Board have confirmed a new provisional start date for the NIFL Championship as Saturday 24 October 2020.

“It is more difficult to confirm a start date for the Premier Intermediate League as clubs are due to commence their Irish Cup campaign on 17 October 2020 with the following weeks in October and November taken up by further rounds of the Irish Cup and/or Divisional Association Cup dates.

“For Season 2020/21 the NI Football League will release PIL fixtures on a more flexible basis to provide fixtures for those clubs who have been knocked out in the early rounds of the National/Divisional Cup competitions.”

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