It has been confirmed that Covid-19 testing will be rolled out for Danske Bank Premiership clubs.
The NI Football League and the Irish FA announced the move ahead of next week’s scheduled return to action.
Clubs are allowed to restart training from Monday, January 18 with the Premiership set to kick-off once again on Saturday, January 23.
But how will Covid-19 testing work in the Premiership?
Here’s what we know…
When does it start?
Testing will begin next week ahead of the Danske Bank Premiership restarting on Saturday, January 23.
Who gets them?
All 12 clubs in the Danske Bank Premiership will be given test kits for players and coaches plus match officials.
When will testing happen each week?
This will probably depend on when clubs are playing. Some clubs could get tested on Thursday for a Saturday fixture, or Wednesday if they play on a Friday night.
How long will testing last?
Testing will take place for an initial rolling period of four weeks as clubs return to training, and will be reviewed after three weeks by the NI Football League.
What if someone tests positive?
Anyone that tests positive will be instructed to follow government guidelines.
The NI Football League’s Covid Case Policy will continue to be implemented. This is applicable to the NIFL Premiership, Championship and Premier Intermediate League.
The full policy can be read HERE
Who is paying for the tests?
The provision of the Covid-19 test kits to clubs has been sourced and funded in a joint venture by the NI Football League and the Irish FA.
What have they said?
NI Football League Interim Managing Director Steven Mills: “We are delighted to announce the introduction of testing to reaffirm our commitment to the welfare of our players, coaches and match officials.
“We have considered what other leagues have introduced and we will be using the same company and test as the EFL clubs in England.
“Coupled with the robust protocols the Premiership clubs have successfully implemented to date, we can look forward to the remainder of the campaign with renewed comfort and excitement.”
IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson: “Through working collaboratively with NIFL we continue to respond to the pandemic to ensure football in Northern Ireland is supported and protected.”
Irish League manager Stephen Baxter: “We must also go through rigorous testing before we go back again. That little bit of testing that has been seen in England and Scotland would be a real weight off everyone’s minds. It would give us a little more clarity in terms of people being safe coming into a football environment, on top of everything else we’re doing to improve safety.”
-- to www.belfastlive.co.uk