UPDATE FROM BOARD OF MANAGEMENT

Bohemians v Derry City - SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

A message to our members, season ticket holders, supporters, volunteers, staff and players:

Following on from the update circulated on Sunday, we can confirm that League of Ireland clubs have had further discussions and meetings with the FAI this week.

While there are issues to be ironed out, significant progress has been made towards the aim of resuming a truncated 2020 SSE Airtricity League season in the not-too-distant future.

The club’s board met last night to consider the updated and improved proposals.

All clubs have agreed to respect the confidentiality of the process, so we are not in a position to give any further information until negotiations have concluded.

As the consultation process between clubs and the Association continues, clouds are lifting elsewhere too.

Our women’s team returned to training this week, while there were further steps in the right direction yesterday as Uefa outlined a proposed timeline for the 2020/2021 European competition qualifying rounds.

Due to the disruption to the global football calendar, the qualifying rounds will now be one-legged affairs at the end of August.

Under the proposals, Bohemians’ first qualifier would take place on Thursday August 27. We will find out our opponents and who has home advantage a week earlier.

This is not what we envisaged back in October when a defensive masterclass saw Bohs claim a 0-0 draw away to St Patrick’s Athletic and with it, qualification for Europe for the first time in eight years.

Those celebrations, which lasted long into the night, and outpouring of emotion at the final whistle will live long in the memory for anyone who has stuck with the club during the dark days.

It is not so long ago that no return to football was envisaged this year, but now we are nearing a position where the season can be salvaged, albeit behind closed doors, with so much to play for.

Uefa’s proposed calendar provides the club with something tangible to aim for after those months of uncertainty.

It is also a welcome boost for our players, who are all desperate to pull the jersey on again having returned to collective training at Dalymount Park on Monday June 8 after an absence of three months.

There were various stages over the past decade where we feared we might never be in a position to compete in European football again.

Qualifying for the 2020/21 Europa League is a testament to how far the club has come together on and off the field.

It is a just reward for the members and supporters who have played their part over the last number of years to get us to that point, and also for first-team manager Keith Long, whose drive and dedication has consistently pushed the team and club forward since taking charge ahead of the 2015 season.

So while we are all disappointed by the impact Covid-19 restrictions will have on the European trip every Bohs fan has been pining for, we should look at the positives too and acknowledge the collective achievement of the club qualifying in the first place.

That same collective effort from first team, members, volunteers, supporters and local community has stood to us during this current crisis.

The support, patience and understanding shown to the club since the lockdown began in March has enabled us to honour our player and backroom staff’s contracts, and has softened what could have been a catastrophic financial impact.

The board of directors, first-team management and first-team squad wish to once again put on record our gratitude for that support.

While uncertainty remains, now there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

We have reason for tentative optimism.

We look forward to the return of football in the not-too-distant future and the significant step forward of our club representing the country on the European stage after an eight-year absence.

And, thanks to your continued support, we believe we will come through these uncertain times a stronger and more united club than ever before.

Keep the faith.

The Board of Bohemian Football Club

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