While the League of Ireland continues to ponder the pros and cons of playing behind closed doors, the FAI is also engaging with stakeholders on how adult amateur and underage football can negotiate the pandemic.
And while interim deputy CEO Niall Quinn is encouraging leagues and clubs to plan for a comeback, he concedes there is the possibility some seasons might have to be shortened or even cancelled
Pending updates from Government on measures in place to combat Covid-19, an FAI steering group is aiming to produce a roadmap for the resumption of football once lockdown restrictions are eased. According to the Association, this will include guidelines for those leagues offering winter football and leagues now operating a summer season.
“It is imperative that we begin to examine all potential returns for our game and examine all criteria around a return,” said Quinn. “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 added: “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.”