League of Ireland clubs are to decide early next week on a potential date for a return to action following today's government announcement that sport can resume from 29 June.

The Women's National League are aiming for a late August start to their season, which saw no games played before the lockdown began in March.

Under the loosening of restrictions, clubs have been cleared to return to full training, and can play friendly matches, from that date.

Peamount United are the defending Women's National League champions

The SSE Airtricity League season was suspended in March following the outbreak of Covid-19, although Irish clubs involved in Europe - Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians, and Derry City - had been allowed to return to training on 8 June.

They had gone through six rounds of coronavirus testing since then, with all of the results coming back negative, and the FAI has now decided that this testing is to be suspended from today.

"The results to date from the six rounds of testing have all been negative and that is a real indicator that our game is a minimal contact sport which reduces the risk of exposure to Covid-19 for our players," said FAI Medical Director Dr Alan Byrne.

"When you analyse those results and look at the medical evidence from other leagues around Europe, I am confident that we can suspend testing now as we prepare for a Safer Return to Football.

"Our aim from the very outset of this process has been to accommodate a return to play that is as safe as we can possibly make it for our players, match officials, staff and everyone involved with our clubs. I have said all along that the only certainty with Covid-19 is the uncertainty but these results all suggest that we are moving in the right direction as we look to get Irish football back to something approaching normality.

"We remain committed to Government guidelines around Covid-19 and this decision can be reversed if circumstances change. I would give great credit to all the players and staff from the four clubs who have made this pilot programme a success."


League of Ireland return closer after new FAI proposals

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