The 2003 season would see the League of Ireland Premier Division change from a winter league to a summer league. To facilitate this change, the 2002–03 season was a shortened season. This saw each team play three rounds of games, totalling 27 games each.
The promotion/relegation play-off format was changed this season. It now featured four teams, the second, third and fourth placed teams from the 2002–03 League of Ireland First Division plus the ninth placed team from the Premier Division.