'Positive' meeting as clubs close in on resolving row over ending Premiership

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Linfield look set to retain title.

Q Radio Sport

Rival clubs are said to be edging closer to resolving a dispute over how the Danske Bank Premiership season should finish.

The latest online meeting held on Thursday night has been described as positive by the Northern Ireland Football League. 

Further discussions are to take place over the weekend, with hopes agreement can be reached ahead of a NIFL board meeting on Monday.

Various proposals have been considered for concluding the campaign, including playing the remaining seven rounds of fixtures.

However, this week's decision by UEFA to kick off European club competitions in August has effectively ruled out that possibility.

It now appears the local season will end early with league leaders Linfield crowned champions.

They'll take their place in the Champions League qualifiers, while Coleraine - sitting four points behind the Blues in second place - enter the first stage of the Europa League.

The Irish FA still plans is to complete the Irish Cup with the two semi-finals and final played at Windsor Park in late July/early August.

(Semis are Coleraine v Ballymena and Glentoran v Cliftonville).

The cup winners would take the third European place - unless Coleraine lift the cup, in which case third-placed league team Crusaders would be nominated for Europe.

It's hoped a deal can be done to share European prize money between the Irish League clubs, reflecting the exceptional circumstances and financial pressures of this unprecedented season which has been suspended since March due to the Covid-19 crisis. 

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