FOOTBALL: Irish FA announce licence verdicts

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The Irish FA have announced the verdict on their Club Licensing applications.

All 12 current Premiership clubs have been granted Premiership Club Licences while Ballyclare Comrades, Institute, Warrenpoint, Larne (using Taylor’s Avenue) and Dergview (using Ferney Park) have been granted promotion licences.

That means that Championship victors Warrenpoint will be eligible for promotion, as will both play-off hopefuls Institute and Ballyclare Comrades.

UEFA Club Licences have been granted to all of the top six and final European play-off side Dungannon Swifts. Ballinamallard and Glentoran were also granted UEFA Club Licences.

Should Limavady secure promotion from the Premier Intermediate League, they will now be able to assume their position in the Championship, unlike last season, as they have been granted a Championship Licence alongside all 12 current Championship sides, Newry City, Donegal Celtic, Banbridge Town and Lisburn Distillery.

In line with the current UEFA, Premiership, Promotion and Championship Licensing Manuals, applicant clubs were assessed in five key areas, namely: Sporting, Infrastructure/Safety, Personnel & Administration, Legal and Financial. The full list of the IFA’s licence verdicts is as follows:

UEFA CLUB LICENCES GRANTED:

Ballinamallard United FC (Shamrock Park, Portadown)

Ballymena United FC (Seaview, Belfast)

Cliftonville FC

Coleraine FC

Crusaders FC

Dungannon Swifts FC (Seaview, Belfast)

Glenavon FC

Glentoran FC

Linfield FC

PREMIERSHIP CLUB LICENCES GRANTED:

Ards FC (Bangor Fuels Arena, Bangor)

Ballinamallard United FC

Ballymena United FC

Carrick Rangers FC

Cliftonville FC

Coleraine FC

Crusaders FC

Dungannon Swifts FC

Glenavon FC

Glentoran FC

Linfield FC

Portadown FC

PROMOTION CLUB LICENCES GRANTED:

Ballyclare Comrades FC

Dergview FC (Ferney Park, Ballinamallard)

Institute FC

Larne FC (Taylor’s Avenue, Carrickfergus)

Warrenpoint Town FC

CHAMPIONSHIP CLUB LICENCES GRANTED:

Annagh United FC

Armagh City FC

Ballyclare Comrades FC

Banbridge Town FC

Dergview FC

Donegal Celtic FC

H&W Welders FC

Institute FC

Knockbreda FC

Larne FC

Limavady United FC

Lisburn Distillery FC

Loughgall FC

Lurgan Celtic FC

Newry City AFC

PSNI FC

Warrenpoint Town FC

CHAMPIONSHIP CLUB LICENCES REFUSED:

Dundela FC

Bangor FC*

Newington YC FC*

Tobermore United FC*

*No documentation submitted beyond initial application form.

Licensing Committee Chairman Allen McKinstry said: “Club licensing is now an established part of the football landscape in Northern Ireland, continuing to act as a catalyst for positive change in providing a framework for clubs to develop both on and off the pitch.

“From awarding only an initial four licences in 2004 to a situation in 2017 where 43 licences have been awarded to allow clubs in Northern Ireland to be eligible (should they sportingly qualify) to play in UEFA Club competitions, Premiership and Championship leagues is very satisfying and testament to the growth and success of the licensing process.”

IFA Licensing and Facilities Manager Leigh Sillery added: “As always I must pay tribute to the work that goes on behind the scenes at all of our clubs to ensure licensing applications are successful. As we reach the climax of another season and supporters, players and managers are quite rightly focused on what happens on the pitch, it is easy to overlook the work that has already gone on at clubs in preparation for next season.

“The long term importance of Northern Ireland football clubs within communities and to all of the various stakeholders means that they must be run sustainably. We continue to quietly work with clubs to strengthen financial discipline and are seeing a more rational use of club finances, improved management and administrative structures and the continued growth of youth development programmes. Things are certainly continuing to move in the right direction.”