Linfield, Portadown and Annagh United top as NIFL confirm final Irish League standings

Following weeks of debate and discussion, NIFL have confirmed the final standings for the 2019/20 campaigns across the Danske Bank Premiership, Bluefin Sport Championship and Blue Sport Premier Intermediate League tables.
Linfield manager David Healy. Pic by Pacemaker.Linfield manager David Healy. Pic by Pacemaker.
Linfield manager David Healy. Pic by Pacemaker.

Linfield, Portadown and Annagh United will be named champions in each of the three divisions - with Institute relegated from the Premiership and PSNI going out of the Championship.

Crusaders secured third place - and potentially the final European qualification spot if Coleraine win the Irish Cup - over goal difference on Cliftonville.

Coleraine, as runners-up, can go into the Europa League.

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton.Portadown manager Matthew Tipton.
Portadown manager Matthew Tipton.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The NI Football League have today confirmed the final league standings for the 2019/20 season,” confirmed officials in a statement. “At the NIFL’s Board meeting on Monday 22 June, the Board determined that following the conclusion of the consultation process with all member clubs via Management Committees, and the appraisal of all season-end options, the current (2019/20) league season would be curtailed immediately.

“It was also determined that the NIFL would engage an independent football data consultancy to recommend and apply a mathematical model in order to determine final standings in each division.

“As you will be aware, there are a range of different possible models for determining league standings.

“A number of models have been considered and/or adopted by different leagues across Europe.

Annagh United manager Ciaran McGurganAnnagh United manager Ciaran McGurgan
Annagh United manager Ciaran McGurgan
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“To ensure that the fairest and most equitable outcome was achieved for all members clubs and the league as a whole, the NIFL Board decided to engage an independent third party to recommend the most appropriate model to adopt.

“The task of identifying and engaging the independent third party was carried out by the NIFL’s two independent board members (who have no links or associations with NIFL member clubs) in conjunction with the NIFL Managing Director.

“No other Board member had any involvement in this process due to conflicts of interest.

“The independent third party identified and engaged was 21st Club, the market leading football data consultancy which has experience in working with clubs and leagues globally.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The basis on which the NIFL engaged 21st Club, and the scope of 21st Club’s engagement, was clear: it was to recommend the fairest, most equitable and most appropriate model based on the following:

“a. Alignment with UEFA principles of applying an objective, transparent, and non-discriminatory

procedure that is based on sporting merit

“b. Alignment with other curtailed European leagues

“c. Assessment of model appropriateness based on 21st Club statistical expertise

“The NIFL Board could have decided to adopt a model based on its own assessment of the above criteria.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The Board decided, however, that in the interests of fairness, reasonableness, proportionality and transparency, that adopting the model recommended by independent experts was the approach which would achieve the fairest and most equitable outcome.

“The Season Curtailment Recommendation report issued by the 21st Club is available to view on our website.

“As outlined in previous statements, this has not been a straightforward situation for the league in unprecedented circumstances.

“Whilst recognising that not all clubs will be happy with the final standings, the NIFL Board has sought to take all reasonable and proportionate steps to ensure the fairest and most appropriate outcome is reached which will allow all stakeholders to start planning for the resumption of football, when safe and appropriate to do so.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We trust the above is helpful in explaining the context and background to which the final league placings were determined and thank you for your patience in reaching a conclusion to the process.”

--

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Thank you