The Football Association of Ireland’s steering group is examining all aspects of a potential return for adult amateur and underage football once the Government issues an update on lockdown procedures around the Covid-19 pandemic.
The group is engaging with representatives from the FAI Board, all adult amateur football, all underage football, FAI National and Provincial Affiliates and Grassroots staff.
The group is establishing the necessary requirements to produce a roadmap for the resumption of football once lockdown restrictions are eased. The FAI is encouraging all Leagues to consult with their own clubs on this matter at the earliest opportunity.
The roadmap for a return to football will include guidelines for those Leagues offering winter football in the traditional manner as well as Leagues now operating a summer season, as per the FAI Rule Book. All football under the auspices of the FAI is suspended until May 5th at the earliest as per the Government guidelines.
Whilst awaiting updates from the HSE and Government which will establish a timeline for a return, the group is keen to produce a policy document which will have as little negative impact as possible on competitions nationwide, including national cup competitions.
FAI Interim Deputy CEO Niall Quinn said: “It is imperative that we begin to examine all potential returns for our game and examine all criteria around a return. We must be prudent and prepare for all eventualities.
“All our Leagues and clubs need to plan for a comeback date now to ensure we are all prepared to hit the ground running when football gets the green light to resume.
“We hope that date will be sooner rather than later but we owe it to our clubs, players and volunteers to prepare for all eventualities around shortened seasons and even cancelled seasons if it comes to that. The Association will consider all viewpoints then draw up a guidance document around League and Cup fixtures, player registration and transfer windows and potential ends to seasons already underway.”
FAI President Gerry McAnaney said: “The Football Association of Ireland remains committed to following all guidelines issued by the HSE, the Department of Health and Government in relation to any resumption for football at all levels across the country.
“The cessation of all football under the jurisdiction of the FAI, including training, remains in place until May 5th at the earliest. We thank all our stakeholders for observing this ban and urge them to obey all HSE guidelines and stay at home.”