'Plan C' now on the table as talks on finishing season go into extra-time

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Could the Irish League be heading back soon?

Q Radio Sport

The Northern Ireland Football League issued a further update on Friday night on proposals to finish the Danske Bank Premiership season. 

Clubs had earlier in the week been given two options to conclude the campaign. 

Either play two final rounds of matches next month to ensure all teams have faced each other three times - or opt for final placings to be predicted by an independent panel based on a mathematical model from previous results.

However, a further virtual meeting of clubs on Thursday night rejected both options and has produced a third way - what one source has described to Q Radio as Plan C.

It would entail teams completing their seven outstanding matches - the two recommended by NIFL, but also the five fixtures after 'the split' when the division divides into a top six and bottom six.

It appears NIFL is not ruling it out - but wants more time:

Pending approval from the Stormont Executive, the seven sets of fixtures could take place over a period starting at the end of July and running until late August - or August into September. Some believe October is a more realistic target. 

If further lockdown restrictions are lifted, the club source told us it's possible the games could be played with fans present - as long as health and safety measures including social distancing were in place.

Local clubs were asked to submit their views by 3pm on Friday (the original deadline was 5pm on Thursday) - ahead of the IFA informing UEFA of plans to finish the season here.

As it stands, the Northern Ireland Football League has to nominate representatives for the Champions League and Europa League by August 3rd.

However, UEFA is meeting next week and deadlines for European competition could be extended further.

The Irish League clubs have discussed sharing European prize money. 

The IFA wants the Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup semi-finals to take place the week of July 20th with the final in early August.

Again, it hinges on the green light from Stormont which on Thursday gave the go ahead for elite athletes and professional sports teams to return to outdoor training.

And finally, the Blues have been seeing red: 



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