'Players careers are up on the air' - insists Crusaders' Philip Lowry

Given the uncertain times for all Irish League clubs, Crusaders midfielder Philip Lowry believes the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) need to make a call on the current season as soon as possible.

The ex-Derry City man admitted he doesn't envy the position NIFL's decision makers have found themselves in and praised them for not being rushed into making any knee-jerk or quick judgement on the outcome of the 2019-20 season.

However the Limavady native stressed that player and club welfare must also be taken into consideration now because for some players, their careers have been put on hold.

"I touched on the current situation on twitter, but what I meant was that players are just looking for a bit of clarity in terms of what the discussions are, or what the eventualities could be," explained Lowry.

Crusaders midfielder Philip Lowry feels player and club welfare need to be taken into consideration.

"Obviously it's extremely complex and there are a lot of moving parts to the problem. We are waiting on government advice and that of various sporting bodies etc, so I don't envy NIFL's task in trying to come up with a conclusion. At the same time however, from a player's perspective, it's an extremely difficult time, especially as players' contracts are going to expire over the next few weeks. In some cases contracts have already expired and a lot of players have been left in limbo.

"There doesn't seem to be any decision coming any time soon so, again, a lot of players have been left with their careers and futures up in the air."

Lowry doesn't believe playing games behind closed doors is a good option as most club's main source of income comes from their gate receipts.

"At some stage someone needs to make a decision, one way or another," he insisted, "I completely agree with NIFL taking their time to make an informed decision. As I said it's extremely complex but, at the same time, the way things are now can't go on forever.

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"Because of the infrastructure of Northern Irish football, I can only see difficulties with playing games behind closed doors, especially the well documented financial struggles clubs are experiencing at the minute.

"Clubs have had to put players on the furlough scheme and if we are expected to come off that and play matches behind closed doors I, just can't see it being sustainable because there's no money coming from the gate and that's the livelihood of many Irish League clubs. That needs to be taken into consideration while this is going on."

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