New financial rules for clubs in Northern Ireland

The Irish Football Association, Northern Ireland Football League and NIFL Premiership clubs have adopted new Financial Compliance Regulations (FCR).

New regulations will now require all NIFL Premiership clubs to break even over a two-year cycle based on audited financial statements – in a bid to ensure all competing clubs remain sustainable and profitable in the future.

The new framework, developed in partnership with the NI Football League, Irish FA and clubs, was unanimously approved by the NIFL Premiership clubs on Monday evening.

“The creation of a regulatory framework around the financial management of our professional clubs is a welcome and important step,” said Graham Fitzgerald, Chief Operating Officer of the Irish Football Association.

“The obligations under the FCR are simple and clear. We are therefore confident that clubs and fans will accept the new rules and recognise their benefits.”

“This is a really positive step for our game,” added Gerard Lawlor, chief executive of the NI Football League.

“Following some truly encouraging discussions, all parties in the game have come together to implement a mature and modern approach to secure the future of our clubs and continue the positive development of the professional game.”

“We play an important role in protecting our clubs. As the football landscape changes, we need a model that ensures clubs live within their means and can remain competitive and ambitious both on and off the pitch. This is not a salary cap. If clubs have the resources, there are no limits.”

The new regulations, which have evolved from the previous successful Salary Cost Protocol (SCP) model, have been modernised and developed with a focus on sustainability without restrictions on investment in clubs.

The new financial compliance rules will come into effect from next season (2024-25) and will be fully implemented by the end of the 2026-27 season. Clubs that fail to meet the two-year break-even point will be penalised by a points deduction.

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