FAI will 'come down hard' on any club breaching coronavirus protocols

Owens pointed out that the FAI has Covid-19 compliance officers at all League of Ireland games
FAI will 'come down hard' on any club breaching coronavirus protocols

“We have to follow the expert medical group advice,” said FAI interim CEO Gary Owens. Picture: INPHO/Tommy Dickson

The FAI has warned that it will “come down hard” on any League of Ireland clubs that may be found not to have complied with return-to-play protocols.

Waterford have had two players report suspected Covid-19 symptoms. The first to do so has since tested negative. Results on the second player are awaited. Waterford suspended all club activities pending the results.

Team doctor Sinead Fitzpatrick has resigned her role at the club stating that it was the right course of action "when you feel things are very wrong".

“We have to follow the expert medical group advice,” said FAI interim CEO Gary Owens. 

“We will need to come down hard on the clubs that are not following protocols because there is too much at risk. Why do we go back and resume because there are a lot of challenges.” 

Owens pointed out that the FAI has Covid-19 compliance officers at all Airtricity League games but that it is not within their remit to check what players or others involved with the game are doing away from their clubs.

He also stressed that the Association has been up to speed with players arriving from outside Ireland to play in the league, which started up again last weekend after the shutdown, and what precautions are being taken in terms of quarantine or other arrangements.

There is also the question as to how those clubs who have qualified for Europe will be able to actually play those games in the coming weeks given the changing, global situation.

“From an expert medical group, we’re trying to get the dispensation from players from the international and European competitions. We’ll have an interesting conversation where the games are played.

“So all of these messages we give out from top to bottom are going to influence international team exposure, European teams, and our own national league. It’s important we get it right. If we make any mistakes, there is a huge amount at stake.”

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