The Belfast Celtic brand will return to the Irish League next season after the IFA approved Sport & Leisure Swifts FC's application to change their name. 

The West Belfast club, who currently sit third from bottom in the Northern Irish league's third tier, the NIFL Premier Intermediate League, will be known as Belfast Celtic FC from the 2019-20 season onwards. 

They had sought to rebrand last August but the IFA ruled that the request had come too late for the 2018-19 season. 

"The board of the Irish Football Association determined at its December meeting that it will approve an application by Sport and Leisure Swifts FC to change its name to Belfast Celtic if a request is submitted by the club ahead of affiliation for the 2019/20 season," read the statement.

"Over recent months, the association has consulted with the club, NIFL, the County Antrim FA and the Belfast Celtic Society. The views of all stakeholders were presented to the board."

The Swifts have stressed that there is no link between this new club and the historical Belfast Celtic club that were such a force in the first half of the 20th century. 

The original Belfast Celtic FC withdrew from the Northern Irish League in 1949 in the wake of a sectarian riot during their St Stephen's Day fixture with Linfield in 1948, at the end of which club striker Jimmy Jones was left unconscious with a broken leg. 

Up until their withdrawal from the league, Belfast Celtic had consistently vied with Linfield for the title of Northern Ireland's premier club. 

The West Belfast side collected 14 league titles, including a five-in-a-row in the late 1930s and a four-in-a-row in the late 1920s, as well as eight Irish Cup victories. 

The defunct club still sit third in the overall NI league roll of honour despite not having competed for 70 years.