Waterford FC to forfeit Sligo Rovers game

The idea of exposing their Under-19 team to another heavy defeat by a Sligo Rovers side sitting third in the table was deemed a counterproductive exercise
Waterford FC to forfeit Sligo Rovers game

Waterford have informed the FAI that they intend handing Sligo Rovers a 3-0 walkover in Saturday’s Premier Division fixture.

The decision of the Blues to forfeit the game – a first since the pandemic began – is due to the vast majority of their squad undertaking quarantine due to a player testing positive for Covid-19.

Following the diagnosis last Thursday, Waterford identified nine suspected close contacts.

Goalkeeper Brian Murphy – who was due to make his return to the side following Kevin Sheedy’s sacking last Wednesday – said in the morning of Saturday’s visit of Drogheda United that all first-team players were “advised by the FAI to stand down”. The FAI have since clarified that the directive was issued by the HSE.

The Premier Division’s bottom side were forced to field their Under-19 team to avoid forfeiting the game, which under a new FAI rule incurs a 3-0 defeat.

The youngsters, only permitted to resume training five days earlier under government guidelines, were soundly beaten 7-0.

With the first-team squad not due out of their 10-day quarantine until after the weekend, subject to returning negative tests, the idea of exposing the group of teens to another heavy defeat by a Sligo Rovers side sitting third in the table was deemed a counterproductive exercise.

The team battling relegation are also mindful of the impact on goal difference to their survival prospects.

An FAI spokesperson said: “The Football Association of Ireland has been informed by Waterford FC of their inability to fulfil their fixture against Sligo Rovers on Friday, May 14. Agreed procedures will now be put into place regarding this matter.”

Meanwhile, Cabinteely have reluctantly conceded defeat in their quest to overturn an FAI’s decision awarding Galway United a 3-0 victory from a cancelled fixture on April 9.

Despite having a confirmed Covid-19 case within the camp two days earlier, Cabo were planning to play the game up until a few hours before kick-off. That was upon receiving HSE advice regarding close contacts.

Their plea to an FAI appeal committee that this situation constituted the “circumstances beyond their control” proviso in the rule was dismissed.

So too was their contention that the FAI directive to have their Under-19 team on standby didn’t apply at that stage. Underage teams were not allowed to train under lockdown rules.

The Dublin club’s last option was elevating the case to arbitration at a cost of €5,000 but they’ve opted against that expensive route.

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