Third-placed Premiership club to get European slot if Irish Cup is scrapped

Last season's Irish Cup winners Crusaders are currently third in the league table

Uefa will award Northern Ireland's third European place to the team that finishes third in the Premiership if this season's Irish Cup is scrapped.

The Irish FA said it intends to complete both the Irish Premiership and the Irish Cup if possible.

However, Uefa told its 55 associations that the European places for any tournament that does not take place would be awarded on league position.

The governing body's member countries held a teleconference on Wednesday.

"Uefa has strongly encouraged all national associations to complete their season and identify Champions League and Europa League entrants the normal way," the IFA said in a statement.

Northern Ireland's allocation of European places was reduced from four to three before the current season.

The Irish Premiership winners were to go into the Champions League, with the league runners-up and Irish Cup winners getting Europa League places.

Last year's Irish Cup winners Crusaders are currently third in the league table, six points behind second-placed Coleraine and ahead of fourth-placed Cliftonville on goal difference.

Glentoran are one point further behind in fifth, with sixth-placed Larne two points behind the Glens.

The semi-finals of the Irish Cup, Ballymena United against Coleraine and Cliftonville against Glentoran, were due to take place last month.

Football across Europe is suspended because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis and it is unclear when a resumption to the football calendar in Northern Ireland is going to be possible.

Uefa confirmed at Wednesday's teleconference that the draws for next season's European competitions, normally held in June, had been suspended indefinitely.

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