Kenny Bruce urges against any self-interest as league looks for solutions

Larne FC owner Kenny bruce says teams need to put their own interests to one side to safeguard the future of the Danske Bank Premiership as a whole.
Larne FC owner Kenny BruceLarne FC owner Kenny Bruce
Larne FC owner Kenny Bruce

Clubs met last week to discuss how best to conclude the current season, with no games having been played since March 7 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Northern Ireland Football League have to inform UEFA of their plans by May 25th with several key points still to be resolved including final standings, distribution of European money and promotion and relegation.

Speaking on The Score, Bruce said every club will have to agree to some compromises, but he hoped for an overall consensus on the key issues.

“I think self interest should be put to one side during this crisis,” he said.

“The key priority is health and safety and the next priority is coming out the end of this crisis with 12 strong teams.

“Everyone is going to have to compromise a little bit.

“If sporting integrity is to be compromised, where those seven games can’t be concluded then everyone has to be interested in the big agenda, which is the game coming out of this crisis stronger and better for the future, and that isn’t going to be achieved if everyone just wants to think about self interest.

“There has been a very comprehensive document put together by Crusaders, who I think were very balanced and fair in their approach, which gives us a very good foundation to build a consensus on how that European money could be divided, in the event those European qualifying games aren’t played, or in the event if they are played but the season was unable to finish.

“From our point of view if there is a compromise on sporting integrity when the seven games can’t be played then what we definitely need to do is to reach a compromise as to how those European nominations would be allocated and then how the money would be divided in some fair fashion to those teams either playing qualifiers or if they find themselves not having to play qualifiers.

“There’s lots to be discussed and I think everything should remain on the table, but I think there are three or four things that we need to get consensus on fairly quickly so we have a united front.

“It’s critical we leave this crisis with 12 strong teams in the Premier League.”

Football in Northern Ireland is currently suspended until 31 May.