Q Radio Sport
Northern Ireland Football League chiefs have called a halt to the Danske Bank Premiership season.
There had been protracted discussions between the 12 clubs and league officials about how the campaign - suspended since March - should conclude.
On Tuesday morning, the inevitable was finally confirmed:
Confirmed: NIFL ends #DanskeBankPrem season. A mathematical model will be used to determine final standings with an independent panel to decide the formula— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) June 23, 2020
Likely outcome: 1st & 2nd @OfficialBlues & @ColeraineFC - @Institute_FC down & @Portadownfc up
The decision was made at a NIFL board meeting on Monday night:
@OfficialNIFL says there will be no NIFL statement tonight on this evening’s Board meeting to decide how to end the #DanskeBankPrem season - but “the NI Football League will issue a full statement tomorrow morning.” pic.twitter.com/Wr34HtwZiL— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) June 22, 2020
Further details soon emerged:
Club sources say @OfficialNIFL is set to confirm a mathematical model will be used to determine final #DanskeBankPrem standings with an independent panel to decide the formula@Portadownfc to be promoted to the Premiership— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) June 22, 2020
All due to be revealed on Tuesday.
📸 Portadown FC pic.twitter.com/qGblrIY3u7
The early ending comes with seven of the scheduled 38 rounds of fixtures left to play.
The likely outcome now is that Linfield will finish first with Coleraine runners-up and the two teams representing Northern Ireland in Champions League and Europa League qualifiers respectively.
Bottom club Institute would be relegated - set to be replaced by the top team in the Championship, Portadown.
It's hoped a deal can be done to distribute some European prize money to all clubs, but details of this still have to be finalised.
It seems football here is not finished for the summer though as the Irish FA remains determined to play the semi-finals and final of the Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup at the end of July.
There are two derby ties in the semis - Coleraine v Ballymena and Cliftonville v Glentoran.
And it appears to be all systems go:
Irish Cup update:— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) June 23, 2020
Club sources confirm
Two semi-finals on Monday 27th July
Final Friday 31st July
All three games at Windsor Park - all behind closed doors@Glentoran v @cliftonvillefc@ColeraineFC v @BallymenaUnited pic.twitter.com/UOmr4GUyc9
If Coleraine win the cup, the third European place is likely to go to the team placed third in the Premiership, under the chosen mathematical formula.
However, it's also been suggested the beaten cup finalists might be nominated for Europe instead.