Ballinamallard United chairman Tom Elliott is hopeful that there will be good news in the coming days on the request for Championship clubs to be granted elite status.

Currently only the 12 Premiership clubs are deemed as elite with the NIFL Championship having yet to get underway.

A start date of January 2 for the Championship had been scheduled with the Mallards set to host Loughgall at Ferney Park, but unless the league is granted elite status then that will again have to be pushed back given the new set of restrictions being introduced by the NI Executive.

However, it is believed that the IFA are looking to secure elite status for the Championship clubs and it is understood that they have asked the NI Executive and Sport NI for support on the matter.

If this is granted then they will be able to kick off their campaign on January 2 before taking on Dergview in the Irish Cup a week later.

“We are hoping for positive news on being granted elite status, it is something that we have been seeking for a while now,” said Mallards chairman Elliott.

“Of course, we acknowledge that it is an extremely difficult time and if we can get playing there will be no spectators at the game but it is something that we would manage,” he commented.