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EMPTY: A security guard stands watch in front of a block of empty seating prior to the UEFA Nations League B match between Republic of Ireland and Finland at the Aviva Stadium last Sunday

EMPTY: A security guard stands watch in front of a block of empty seating prior to the UEFA Nations League B match between Republic of Ireland and Finland at the Aviva Stadium last Sunday

SPORTSFILE

EMPTY: A security guard stands watch in front of a block of empty seating prior to the UEFA Nations League B match between Republic of Ireland and Finland at the Aviva Stadium last Sunday

Ireland's three biggest sporting organisations will formulate a collective proposal for the phased return of spectators to matches.

In an identically-worded statement released this evening by all three, the FAI, GAA and IRFU revealed that they met earlier today "to discuss a collaborative approach to the development of a submission to Government on a roadmap for the safe return of supporters to stadia."

It is believed that the Government requested a joint submission on the matter ahead of the expected release of 'Living with Covid-19', the Government's new mid-term plan on dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, scheduled for publication next Tuesday.

It will replace the roadmap which came to an end in August and is intended to run until the end of spring 2021. "It has been agreed that a further meeting will be held early next week," the statement explained, "following the publication of the Government's new roadmap for living with Covid-19. This meeting will consider how the three governing bodies move forward together."

It is the first time officials from the country's biggest sporting organisations have worked in tandem on the issue.

The GAA are believed to have made a number of submissions to Government over the past three months but their last proposal - to increase the number of spectators in grounds from 200 to 500 - was rejected in August, when all sport was effectively put behind closed doors.

It is anticipated that there will be some positive developments in relation to spectator admission on Tuesday, although the increase in infection rates, particularly in Dublin and Limerick, remain a cause for concern.

Any thaw in the Government's position would represent a much-needed financial boon for all three organisations.

There are a spate of GAA county finals fixed over for next three weekends, the inter-county season is scheduled to resume on October 17/18, with round six of the Allianz football league.

In rugby, Leinster are scheduled to meet Saracens in the Aviva Stadium in the quarter-finals European Cup on Saturday, September 19 and have a home draw in the last four should they progress.

Ireland's rescheduled Six Nations game with Italy is fixed for October 24. After this weekend, there are eight rounds of the League of Ireland remaining, all of which may have at least some spectators present.