IFA announces extension of foo...


IFA announces extension of fooball season suspension until late April

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The Irish Football Association (IFA) has announced that it is extending the suspension of the football season in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this month, the board of the IFA suspended all football action under its jurisdiction until April 4 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Following a board meeting today, Northern Irish football's governing body has decided to extend the shutdown until April 30.

"The decision was made at a board meeting earlier today and is subject to an ongoing review of the evolving situation around coronavirus (Covid-19)," reads the official statement.

"It said the decision had been taken with public health but, equally, the health and safety of players, match officials, staff and volunteers front of mind.

"The matter will be kept under constant review and it means no affiliated football will be played in Northern Ireland until that time.

"Government advice and that from the health authorities remains in place.

"We continue to encourage people to visit NHSUK/coronavirus for information about the virus and how to protect yourself and use the 111 online coronavirus service to check if you need medical help.

"Earlier this month the Board initially suspended all football here until 4 April but that suspension has now been extended."

Unlike the SSE Airtricity League, the NIFL Premiership is close to the end of the season with two rounds of regular fixtures left to play before the division splits for five more rounds of matches.

Last week the FAI announced that it was setting June 19 as the date it hopes to resume domestic action with five rounds of Premier Division games played and three in the First Division.

Meanwhile the FAI have also announced that a number of classic matches from the Setanta Sports Cup will be screened to entertain League of Ireland fans who may presently be cooped up at home.

Starting on eirSport tonight, the 2005 final between Linfield and Shelbourne will be screened first before the 2006 final between Drogheda United and Cork City is screened on Tuesday.

Drogheda United v Linfield in the 2007 final will be screened on Wednesday, Cork City v Glentoran in the 2008 Final on Thursday and the 2009 final between Bohemians and St. Patrick's Athletic on Friday.

Over the weekend, eirSport will screen back-to-back finals with the 2011 final between Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk, and the 2012 final between Crusaders and Derry City on Saturday evening.

On Sunday, the 2013 final between Shamrock Rovers and Drogheda United will be screened first, followed by the 2014 final between Sligo Rovers and Dundalk.

Full eirSport schedule - Classic Setanta Cup Finals

Monday, March 23 - Linfield v Shelbourne, 8.30pm
Tuesday, March 24 - Drogheda United v Cork City, 8.30pm
Wednesday, March 25 - Linfield v Drogheda United, 8.30pm
Thursday, March 26 - Cork City v Glentoran, 8.30pm
Friday, March 27 - Bohemians v St. Patrick's Athletic, 8.30pm
Saturday, March 28
Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk, 7.30pm
Crusaders v Derry City, 9.15pm
Sunday, March 29
Shamrock Rovers v Drogheda United, 7.30pm
Sligo Rovers v Dundalk, 9.15pm

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