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FAI extends football activity...
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FAI extends football activity suspension due to COVID-19 crisis

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

17:41 24 Mar 2020

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) is extending the cessation of all football under its jurisdiction until April 19th inclusive.

The FAI made the announcement after receiving directives regarding the COVID-19 crisis from the government, the Department of Health and UEFA.

Irish football's governing body initially suspended all football activity in the Republic of Ireland until March 29, nearly two weeks ago but released a statement today confirming the extension.

"The decision to extend a deadline for the return to football has been taken in light of the ever-growing threat posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and in the best interests of our players, coaches, volunteers, supporters and staff.

"This decision will continue to be monitored on an ongoing basis," reads the statement.

"The FAI is in communication with the Department of Health and UEFA on COVID-19 and will continue to follow all government guidelines.

"The Association advises all members, volunteers and stakeholders to respect the HSE guidelines on social distancing during this pandemic."

Last Friday, after discussions between the FAI and the National League Executive Committee, it was announced that June 19 would be the date set to resume this season's SSE Airtricity League action.

The FAI added in today's statement that there is no change to that target date.

"The Association remains committed to a June return for the SSE Airtricity League.

"Regular meetings are ongoing with representatives from the National League Executive Committee and the Professional Footballer’s Association of Ireland to help our clubs and players through this difficult time."

The statement concludes by reminding clubs around the country that they should not be training collectively during the current crisis.

"FAI Medical Director Dr Alan Byrne has again advised the FAI that in the current exceptional circumstances, clubs should not engage in collective training during the cessation period for all football activity under the FAI’s jurisdiction.

"This recommendation is based on the government’s desire to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and Dr Byrne strongly advises against clubs training during this cessation period which runs until April 19th inclusive."

Meanwhile, Republic of Ireland under-21 manager Stephen Kenny has called on the Irish public to do what they can to protect medical staff during the COVID-19 crisis.

"We've got to look after everyone in the frontline services," said Kenny in a video released by the FAI this afternoon.

"I have friends who are nurses and friends who are doctors, and when you consider that 15 doctors have died in Italy, it shows you the self-sacrifice that all of the workers on the frontline are contributing."

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