Clean sweep as Irish League clubs agree to 'break-even' financial rules

NI Football League chief executive Gerard Lawlor. (Photo by PressEye/Phil Magowan)NI Football League chief executive Gerard Lawlor. (Photo by PressEye/Phil Magowan)
NI Football League chief executive Gerard Lawlor. (Photo by PressEye/Phil Magowan)
The Irish League’s Premiership clubs have unanimously agreed to fresh financial regulations which required ‘break-even’ compliance over a two-year cycle.

A statement released by the NI Football League confirmed the following:

“In an important step to safeguard future of the game, the key stakeholders in the NI professional game have come together to agree new Financial Compliance Regulations (FCR).

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“The new regulations will now see all NIFL Premiership clubs required to meet ‘break-even’ compliance over a two-year cycle from their audited annual accounts, to ensure that all competing clubs remain both sustainable and profitable, going forward.

“Developed in partnership with the NI Football League, the Irish FA and the clubs, the new framework was unanimously agreed by the NIFL Premiership clubs on Monday evening.”

The statement continued: “Having evolved from the success of the previous Salary Cost Protocol (SCP) model, the new regulations have been modernised and developed with a focus on sustainability, without restriction on investment on clubs.

“The new Financial Compliance Regulations will be phased in from next season (2024/2025) with the regulations fully implemented by the end of the 2026/2027 campaign, with penalties of points deductions for clubs who fail to fulfil the aggregated two-year break-even compliance.”

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Gerard Lawlor, NI Football League chief executive, described the move as “a really positive step for our game, as following really encouraging discussions; all parties in the game came together as one to implement a mature and modern approach to safeguard the future of our clubs, and continue the positive growth of the professional game”.

He added: “We have a major role to protect our clubs, and as the football landscape is changing and we need a model to make sure that they are living within their means but can remain ambitious and competitive both on and off the pitch; this is not a salary cap, if clubs have the means, there are no restrictions.”

Graham Fitzgerald, the Irish FA chief operating officer, said: “The creation of a regulatory framework around the financial management of our professional clubs is a welcome and important development. The obligations under FCR are simple and straight forward, therefore we are confident that clubs and fans alike will embrace the new rules and recognise their merit.”

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