Ballinamallard United’s NIFL representative, who is also the NIFL Championship Vice-Chairman, Jeff Aiken, says that the decision taken by the clubs at Monday night’s meeting to null and void the league was made because they felt that there was not enough time to play a 22-game league.

The NIFL Championship Committee asked the NIFL Board to cancel the league, and this request was approved on Tuesday.

“The Championship clubs agreed by a majority basis to ask the NIFL Board to null and void the current season. The reason was that we just didn’t feel that we could fit 22 games into the remaining weeks that we had, given that we still had some Irish Cup games to fit in,” said Aiken.

“The Premiership has been going for something like 16 weeks, and one of the teams has only played 11 games in that time, so when you look at those weeks that we had left and the fact that there could be weather issues, there could be further Covid issues, it just wasn’t going to be feasible to play 22 games.

“The view was that if we couldn’t schedule the 22 games, we shouldn’t look to do anything less, so there was a very strong opinion of the group to null and void the season.”

He has though stated that there is the possibility of an alternative competition to give teams competitive games before the Irish Cup.

“We have done a bit of work on an alternative competition involving the Championship clubs and the PIL clubs, and we are trying to put that down on paper to send it out for input from all the clubs so that they can give consideration to whether that is something they want to play in.

“Basically, you have 23 teams between those two leagues and we are looking to split it up in some sort of geographical way where you have four groups and the four winners would play in semi-finals and then a final.

“That’s very much driven so that we can give the Championship clubs competitive football before they go into competitive Irish Cup fixtures. What we said is that we would get something out to the clubs which would be the bones of an alternative competition and find out what they feel about that.

“Clubs would also be asked if they intend to participate in this year’s Irish Cup,” he added.