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FAI forced to shelve return of...
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FAI forced to shelve return of underage football despite level-3 move

The FAI has postponed the return of elite football from the under-13 to under-19 age grades. 

A regression to level-3 restrictions looked set to facilitate underage football’s return this weekend, but the association say they’ve been informed that’s not the case. 

Provincial GAA councils have been issuing fixture plans this week for the resumption of Minor and Under-20 competitions.

Indeed, the Eirgrid All Ireland Under 20 football final will serve as a curtain-raiser to the All Ireland senior football final.

The FAI say they’re now asking all parties to review the next steps necessary to facilitate a safe return to playing matches.

FAI statement: 

The Football Association of Ireland is disappointed to inform its players, coaches, parents/guardians, volunteers and supporters that the return of all underage National League matches for boys and girls from Under-13 to Under-19 level, beginning this weekend, has been cancelled on the guidance of Government.

The Association had felt that the broader new Level 3 COVID-19 guidelines issued by Government would allow for the resumption of elite Underage football as it had done before the Level 5 lockdown but it has been made clear to us that this is not the case.

The FAI regrets the need to have to issue this directive given Irish football’s widespread adherence to the guidelines to date and the negligible number of COVID-19 cases within our underage National Leagues and grassroots games that are run with great efficiency and care by our loyal administrators, volunteers and employees.

We are now asking all parties to review the next steps necessary to facilitate a safe return to playing matches for all our players and clubs across all levels – elite football, adult amateur and underage - at the earliest opportunity. We remain committed to working with our partners to allow for the return of competitive football for all ages and all levels of the game as soon as it is possible in this COVID-19 pandemic.

The FAI will always respect the prevailing government’s COVID-19 guidelines in place at any given time. We assure Government that football will abide by these Level 3 guidelines and reminds all affiliates of our responsibility in this regard.

Adult amateur and underage clubs are reminded that they can train outdoors, non-contact in pods of 15 with one coach minimum per adult team and two for underage teams, as per the FAI Safer Return to Training Protocol and Level 3 Government guidelines.

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