500 fans to be allowed into first League of Ireland matches

League of Ireland clubs will be permitted to allow 500 fans into home stadiums under proposals to restart the campaign on July 31.
500 fans to be allowed into first League of Ireland matches
The likely halving by the government of social distance to one metre is deemed essential for that opening maximum figure of 500 increasing over the remainder of the season.
The likely halving by the government of social distance to one metre is deemed essential for that opening maximum figure of 500 increasing over the remainder of the season.

League of Ireland clubs will be permitted to allow 500 fans into home stadiums under proposals to restart the campaign on July 31.

Talks on the details of the resumption continued today with confusion arising over potential relegation for clubs refusing to return after the coronavirus-enforced disruption.

After being initially informed no sanctions would be imposed against clubs declining the compensation package, the criteria appears to have changed.

To provide clarity, the FAI have vowed to notify all clubs in writing of the package available and associated conditions.

Further negotiations are due between the FAI and the 10 Premier Division clubs on Friday but a final decision is now not expected until Monday.

Some top-flight clubs have yet to be convinced that the €190,000 of compensation is sufficient to cover their costs, especially as a tentative proposal of a pay-cut among players and staff has already been dismissed.

Although extra state support has been so far ruled out, the pot on offer might be boosted by interest-free loans made available by Fifa to members hit by the crisis.

More encouraging is the positive soundings on fans attending matches.

Initial plans to stage the games at neutral venues waned as the health landscape improved in recent weeks and the allowance of partial attendances modifies the ongoing business model based on no matchday revenue.

The likely halving by the government of social distance to one metre is deemed essential for that opening maximum figure of 500 increasing over the remainder of the season.

How many teams lose their top-flight status remains the most contentious topic.

Sligo Rovers, with no points from their opening four matches, are strident against relegation, given they’ve only 14 games left to survive.

Waterford have joined them in objecting, moreso due to losing their manager Alan Reynolds last week and operating on a limited budget.

Also still to be decided upon is the status of the FAI Cup.

While the association favour retaining the competition, locating slots in the condensed calendar presents a challenge.

Readjusted formats, such as excluding the four European participants from the first round, are up for discussion, as it switching the final from Aviva Stadium to Tallaght in late November.

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