The planned move provoked a strong response, with six top Dublin schoolboy clubs threatening legal action against its implementation.
The clubs argued the new scheme would give them an insufficient return for their input and also charged it was being pushed through without the agreement of all key parties. They said they feared the rule change would “destroy a structure that has delivered 90 internationals for the Republic of Ireland senior team.”
However, after their EGM in Dublin yesterday, the FAI insisted Rule 49 was good for Irish football. Said Eoin Hand, former Irish manager and current FAI Football Support Services manager: “We have finally got a solution that will greatly benefit amateur clubs. It opens up a source of minimum compensation that wasn’t previously available to amateur clubs and rewards investment in the development of young players who go on to become professional footballers in the League of Ireland.”
Under the new scheme, when a player turns pro, clubs will receive e500 per annum for his training between his 12th and 21st birthdays. Retrospective payments are to be covered by a lump sum to the Schoolboys FAI who will decide how to distribute it. The FAI also emphasised Rule 49 only applies to domestic football and does not affect the entitlement of clubs to compensation, under FIFA statutes, for players involved in international transfers.
The scheme will commence on December 10 and will be reviewed after 12 months.