Sport & Leisure Swifts to change name to Belfast Celtic

S&L swifts
Sport and Leisure Swifts finished ninth in the Premier Intermediate league last season

The Irish FA has granted permission for West Belfast club Sport and Leisure Swifts to change their name to Belfast Celtic ahead of the 2019-20 season.

The Premier Intermediate League outfit will retain their present name until the end of the current campaign before formally re-launching the club.

The IFA consulted with the club, NIFL, the Co Antrim FA and the Belfast Celtic Society before approving the change.

The views of all stakeholders were presented to the board.

"The board of the Irish Football Association determined at its December meeting that it will approve an application by Sport and Leisure Swifts FC to change its name to Belfast Celtic if a request is submitted by the club ahead of affiliation for the 2019/20 season," read an IFA statement.

The IFA had ruled in August that the request for a name change had come too late to be considered for the 2018-19 season.

This was because the plea came over a week after the club, who were founded in 1978, affiliated to the County Antrim FA for this season.

Original Belfast Celtic folded in 1949

Belfast Celtic were one of the biggest teams in Irish football before folding in 1949.

Their annual Boxing Day meeting with rivals Linfield gained infamy in 1948 when the match ended with fans streaming onto the field and attacking players.

Belfast Celtic striker Jimmy Jones was left unconscious with a broken leg and the club's directors then took the decision to withdraw from the league upon conclusion of the season.

Sport and Leisure Swifts, currently managed by Pat McAllister, indicated a desire to change their name citing a "desire to improve the club, to improve footballing prospects for young people in West Belfast and to promote a high level of sporting excellence".

West Belfast is the only area of the city to not currently have representation in the Irish Premiership.