FAI sets League of Ireland target return date of 19 June

Derry City
Derry City are currently seventh in the Premier Division table

The Football Association of Ireland has set 19 June as a target return date for the League of Ireland.

It was announced last week that all football matches in the Republic of Ireland were suspended due to the corornavirus crisis.

The decision was taken at a teleconference hosted by the FAI and attended by all 19 league clubs.

Based around Uefa guidelines, the return date has been set by the FAI and the National League Executive Committee.

The Premier Division will finish on Friday, 4 December 4 and the SSE Airtricity League season will close on Friday, 11 December, with the second leg of the promotion/relegation play-off.

The FAI Cup Final will go ahead as scheduled on 1 November, while the EA SPORTS Cup will be deferred.

The new schedule will require the cancellation of the last round of fixtures in the Premier Division, now reduced to 27 games in total. Changes to the dates for European club fixtures may force alterations to the new calendar of games as the season develops and this will be continually reviewed.

The First Division clubs will examine the possibility of fulfilling their 27-game schedule within this timeframe from June to December.

FAI Competitions Director Fran Gavin said: "These are very difficult times for our clubs and players and the FAI remains committed to doing everything we can to get us all through this crisis together.

"There are no certainties around the COVID-19 pandemic but this decision offers us something to aim for. UEFA hope to have European football back up and running by early June at the latest so June 19 is a realistic target for us at this moment in time."