NIFL highlight ‘opportunity now to finally progress’ sub-regional stadia funding

Northern Ireland Football League member clubs were last night informed ‘we have the opportunity now to finally progress the flagship project of sub-regional stadia funding’.

NIFL chief executive Gerard Lawlor delivered the message in a meeting described as ‘hugely productive’.

Lawlor was joined by NIFL chairman Colin Kennedy and chief operating officer Steven Mills for the ‘detailed update on the journey of NIFL’s progress in recent weeks with political representatives in relation to funding’.

The meeting, hosted at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park to club representatives and via an online website, proved, as Lawlor described, ‘important for us as an organisation to communicate the latest information’.

Gerard Lawlor, the Northern Ireland Football League chief executive. Pic by Pacemaker.

“The meeting tonight was important for us as an organisation to communicate the latest information with our member clubs,” said Lawlor in the NIFL statement. “Following our meeting with the Minister of the Department for Communities, we have the opportunity now to finally progress the flagship project of sub regional stadia funding for the benefit of NIFL clubs and support the essential work they do within their respective communities.

“We are working to provide the opportunity for this vital support to all our 43 member clubs.

“The next steps are now for NIFL are to understand the needs and necessities of our members and we will do that by going out and meeting with all of our clubs.”

Also, Loughgall have been hit with a five-point forfeit for Championship fixtures involving Callum Ferris during the latest player eligibility ruling by NIFL.

The ruling marks a significant blow to the Lakeview Park club’s bid for promotion.

“The NI Football League can confirm that a ruling has been made on a player eligibility case in the NIFL Championship,” stated NIFL. “The ruling related to the eligibility of Loughgall player Callum Ferris.

“The case was considered by a NIFL Commission and has ruled that the player has not been registered in accordance with Rule 32 (a) of the NIFL Championship Rules 2021/22.

“Therefore, accordance with Rule 35(a) of the NIFL Championship Rules 2021/22 any club playing an ineligible player or players in any match under the auspices of the NIFL Championship may be fined a maximum of £250 per player for the first offence and £25 for subsequent offences involving the same player.

“In addition, should the match(es) in question result in a win for the offending team, or end in a draw, then such points shall be forfeited by the offending club and its opponents awarded three points in respect of that match and a score line of 3-0 recorded in its favour.

“The following NIFL Championship matches have been impacted: 15 January 2022 – Dergview 1-1 Loughgall; 22 January 2022 – Dundela 0-0 Loughgall; 25 January 2022 – Annagh United 1-3 Loughgall.

“The above points to Loughgall shall be forfeited and opponents awarded three points in respect of that match and a score line of 3-0 recorded in its favour, furthermore the club has been fined £300.”

Plus, Cliftonville will attempt to cut the gap over the two joint Premiership leaders Linfield and Glentoran to a single point tonight with a clash against Warrenpoint Town. Warrenpoint visit Solitude with the opportunity to move off bottom spot in the senior standings and leapfrog Portadown.