IFA welcomes news that fans can attend Irish league matches

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By Q Radio news

After much confusion football supporters will be allowed to attend Irish Premiership matches today.

Conflicting messages were sent out by the Stormont Executive on whether  fans would be allowed into 'elite' events yesterday evening.

Communities Minister Caral Ni Chuilin sent a letter to sporting bodies stating fans were not permitted to attend under new Covid-19 regulations.

However First Minister Arlene Foster tweeted that earlier guidance that fans could attend games.

(Windsor Park, Belfast)

The move's been welcomed by the Irish Football Association:

"The Irish Football Association notes both the new Health Protection Regulations which were made at 10.30pm on Friday 16 October which came into effect immediately, and that spectators will still be admitted at elite sporting events which are allowed under the regulations.

This will include the NIFL Danske Bank Premiership matches, where the 2020/2021 season has this weekend begun. Ground capacities for these games will be determined by the local safety authority. 

Patrick Nelson, Irish Football Association CEO, said

“The football industry in Northern Ireland, from governing body and NIFL level to right through the pyramid, has worked tirelessly to ensure protocols are in place for the safe return of fans at games.

“We have proven, just last week when we had 600 impeccably behaved supporters at our UEFA Nations League game against Austria, and at the Irish Cup final in July, that games with fans can take place safely at the National Stadium at Windsor Park and we know our clubs in the NIFL have similarly been engaging with fans to do likewise.

“We are committed to playing our part in reducing the threat of Covid-19 in this country however we will continue to press the Northern Ireland Executive on what financial measures will be offered to the football industry in Northern Ireland as the income streams of both the Association and its member clubs has been severely reduced by the capacity restrictions on spectators.”

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