Northern Ireland Football League officials recently returned from Portugal following confirmation of NIFL entering into an association with many of the global game's leading competitions.
The NI Football League have joined the European Leagues' Association as a Development Member at the General Assembly in Lisbon last week.
Chairman Brian Adams, vice-chairman Gerard Lawlor and managing director Andrew Johnston joined representatives from 36 member leagues and associations of clubs from 29 European countries at Estádio da Luz, the home of Benfica.
Andrew Johnston said: “We are delighted to be accepted as a Development Member of the European Leagues, we look forward to learning from our colleagues across Europe on how we can develop our league and assist our clubs in their continued growth”.
The European Leagues' main goal is to enhance and protect competitive balance in league competitions through good governance, sporting merit and solidarity.
Their current membership also includes the Premier League, La Liga and the Bundesliga.