NIFL chief Gerard Lawlor: No immediate plans for Covid-19 circuit breaker

NIFL chief executive Gerard Lawlor insists a Covid-19 circuit breaker isn’t on the league’s immediate agenda.

Local football chiefs are set to hold a virtual meeting with Danske Bank Premiership bosses on Wednesday.

But while some managers are open to having a short circuit breaker in January, a suspension isn’t being considered by the powers-that-be at this time.

With several Premiership fixtures postponed over the festive and New Year period – including the North Belfast derby – it is understood a number of managers are keen to discuss a two week break.

But while there’s every chance they will air those views next week, with no new restrictions imposed on sport by the NI Executive, NIFL chiefs are keen to keep the show on the road while tightening up the league’s Covid protocols.

Chief Executive Lawlor said: “There is no doubt it has been a very challenging time around Covid-19 and it goes without saying that we are continuing to liaise closely with the Executive and our clubs.

“We are keeping a very close eye on developments and the picture changes every day. We will continue to monitor the situation, but there are no immediate plans to have a circuit break.”

It is understood NIFL does plan to address – and firm up – the league’s existing Covid-19 protocols and how games are called off.

A number of recent top-flight fixtures have been postponed at late notice, including the North Belfast derby between Cliftonville and Crusaders on December 27.

The postponement of Saturday’s game between Coleraine and Warrenpoint Town was also confirmed just a few hours before the scheduled 3pm kick-off.

The next full programme of Premiership games isn’t until January 15, with the first round of the Irish Cup, which is organised and run by the Irish FA, being played next Saturday (January 8).