The NI Football League can reveal exciting new plans to expand and enhance the Premier Intermediate League for next season.
The decision was taken by the NIFL Board in consultation with both the Irish FA and the Premier Intermediate League (PIL) clubs to improve the league and add fresh impetus to the top tier of intermediate football in Northern Ireland.
The recent ongoing issues in football have allowed NIFL to grasp the opportunity to reshape the structure of the division, which will also include a brand-new title sponsor for next season.
Gerard Lawlor, NIFL Chief Executive said; “We have been having discussions with our clubs regarding the size of the structure of this league for some time, this has involved the number of games played and their involvement in various cup competitions. Following Warrenpoint Town’s licence refusal clearly preventing them from playing in the Premiership or the Championship, this provides us both the opportunity and need to increase the membership of the league.
“After positive consultation with the Irish FA and our PIL Clubs the fourteen-team league proposal, which was previously suggested by the Irish FA as their preferred model in the recent review of Intermediate football, has support from our existing PIL clubs.
“In situations like this we must work together to find solutions to issues and I’m both thankful and delighted a solution has been found to solve a number of potential longer-term issues, far and beyond Warrenpoint Town”.
From season 2023/2024, the NIFL Premier Intermediate League will consist of 14 clubs, playing 26 matches each (traditional home & away fixtures, with no split) and straight relegation of the bottom club into the fourth tier.
Following consultation, clubs will continue to play in their regional cup competitions.
Membership of the new look PIL, will consist of the following: Warrenpoint Town, the defeated team in the Championship Promotion-Relegation playoff; the remaining ten clubs from the 2022/2023 season; and two newly promoted intermediate clubs.
The two promoted clubs will be determined by the existing eligible applicants upon the conclusion of the current season across the regional intermediate leagues.