League of Ireland clubs can begin preparing for a return to the pitch after the FAI confirmed a return date for the Premier Division and First Division.
The League of Ireland had been suspended in March due to the coronavirus outbreak but the FAI has this afternoon confirmed that the competition will return with a tweaked format.
At the time of suspension, Shamrock Rovers were leading the Premier Division having racked up five wins out of five since the league began in February. Everything you need to know about the return of the League of Ireland can be found below...
When is the League of Ireland back?
The League of Ireland will return on Friday, July 31 after a statement was issued today which says: 'The National League Executive Committee has ruled that the SSE Airtricity League will resume from July 31st with two rounds of matches in total, including games played to date, and promotion and relegation as scheduled at the start of the 2020 season. This decision has been sent to the board of the FAI for ratification.'
— SSE Airtricity League (@SSEAirtricityLg) June 30, 2020
What will the format be?
There were four options on the table but the NLEC has decided on option one which 'maintains the current position with the League to resume as planned with two rounds of fixtures, (18 in total for each club) and counting results of matches played to date. One club will be automatically promoted to the Premier Division from the First Division, with one club automatically relegated.'
Furthermore, 'A Play-Off will take place between the ninth-placed Premier Division club and the winner of the First Division play-off series involving the teams that finish 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th in the First Division. The winner of the Play-Off will play in the Premier Division of the SSE Airtricity League in the 2021 season.'
Fixtures for the return of the League of Ireland will be announced in due course and you can read today's statement in full here.
(header pic: Shutterstock)