Following communication from UEFA of the latest Access List for European Competitions, the NI Football League has been advised that places allocated to Northern Ireland representatives has been reduced for the 2020/2021 season.

Northern Ireland is currently ranked in 52nd position (from 55 member nations) as of the end of the 2018/2019 season. As a result, next season clubs representing Northern Ireland in UEFA Competitions will be limited to three places – one for UEFA Champions League and two for the UEFA Europa League.

The three European places will be allocated to the Danske Bank Premiership winners (UEFA Champions League), the Irish Cup winners (UEFA Europa League) and the Premiership runners-up (UEFA Europa League). There will be no Europa League play-off series at the end of this current season.

Despite this disappointment, the fantastic performances of our four representative clubs in UEFA Competitions this summer, in which all four clubs progressed at least one round of their respective competitions, means that the Northern Ireland co-efficient ranking is expected to rise to 48th position by the end of the current season.

Whilst clarification will not be formally communicated until this time next year – the rise in the rankings should see Northern Ireland return to an allocation of four places, with the return of an additional place for the start of season 2021/2022.