Cork City and Cobh won't return to action until June 19 at the earliest

Cork City and Cobh won't return to action until June 19 at the earliest
Cork City supporters show their delight after defeating Finn Harps in the Airtricity Premier division game at Turner's Cross last month. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

CORK CITY and Cobh Ramblers won't return to action until mid-June, at the earliest.

The FAI and the National League Executive Committee have set the weekend beginning June 19 as a target date for the resumption of SSE Airtricity League football in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was made at a tele-conference conducted from FAI HQ at Abbotstown on Friday, with all 19 League clubs represented. 

The challenge now for City is to find income to keep the club going over the coming months, especially given their document financial issues since last season. They are already the subject of a takeover bid from Trevor Hemmings, a business-man with Leeside links who owns Preston North End.

The top-flight season will be reduced to a 27-game series, which will have a massive impact on all clubs. Earlier this week Sligo revealed they wouldn't be in a position to continue paying employees with the campaign on hold.

The FAI statement explained: "Both parties agreed to work together to play as many games as possible this season to minimise the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on attendances and sponsorship and to consider the needs of clubs who have qualified for Europe.

"The new plan is based around UEFA guidelines on a return to club action across Europe, as presented to the FAI last Tuesday. This decision will see the Premier Division and the First Division of the SSE Airtricity League resume on the weekend commencing Friday, June 19.

"The Premier Division will finish on Friday, December 4 and the SSE Airtricity League season will close on Friday, December 11, with the second leg of the promotion/relegation play-off. The Extra.ie FAI Cup Final will go ahead as scheduled on November 1, whilst the EA SPORTS Cup will be deferred.

"The new schedule will require the cancellation of the last round of fixtures in the Premier Division, now reduced to 27 games in total. Changes to the dates for European club fixtures may force alterations to the new calendar of games as the season develops and this will be continually reviewed.

"The First Division clubs will examine the possibility of fulfilling their 27-game schedule within this timeframe from June to December."

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