Covid-19 testing rolled out for Irish Premiership sides before league's resumption

NB derby
The north Belfast derby between Cliftonville and Crusaders was the only game played on 9 January before the two-week break began

Irish Premiership clubs and match officials will receive Covid-19 testing before the league resumes on 23 January.

Funded by the NI Football League and the Irish FA, testing will continue initially for four weeks with a review after three.

The league is currently in a two-week hiatus amid the latest wave of coronavirus cases in Northern Ireland.

No testing has been available to teams up to this point.

Having belatedly began in October, the competition was halted amid growing concerns from players and officials over their safety as case numbers rapidly across Northern Ireland.

League authorities are hopeful that play can resume later this month, and a testing programme alongside a falling R rate will bolster their case.

"We have considered what other leagues have introduced and we will be using the same company and test as the EFL clubs in England," said NIFL's interim managing director Stephen Mills.

"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."

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