Growing anger amongst Cork schoolboy clubs with the FAI has morphed into action as they last night withdrew from the Schoolboy Football Association of Ireland (SFAI) cups.
All but one of the 25 qualifying teams from the Cork region of the competitions from U12 to U16 level have issued the SFAI and FAI with notice of their refusal to participate in the new version of the open draw.
The one exception of the 12 Cork clubs, Bandon United, have yet to decide on whether to withdraw their one team from the competition.
The impasse centres on the involvement, or otherwise, of teams from the biggest affiliate, the Dublin and District Schoolboys League, in the five competitions. At their council meeting in December, the SFAI emphatically voted to conduct the open draw of the cups excluding four slots reserved for qualifiers from the DDSL region.
While the DDSL disagreed, all other seven regions had contested their ties to supply teams into the ‘open draw.’ However, following a meeting called by FAI chief executive John Delaney with two senior SFAI officers, a second draw was held last week to include DDSL qualifiers.
Cork contends the new draw, made in the presence of FAI board member Donal Conway, breaches the SFAI’s own rules.
The first ties for the open section of the five competitions are due to be played next weekend. A letter on behalf of the Cork clubs, signed by Kieran O’Donovan of Corinthian Boys, was yesterday sent to the SFAI and copied to FAI chief executive John Delaney.
“As we have not received any response whatsoever from the SFAI/FAI to our letter of January 23, or an explanation as to why a new draw was required to be held, or why one region was permitted to conduct a seeded draw in order to select their representatives in the last-32 when all other regions complied with the independent SFAI draw made on August 24, we have been left with no alternative but to confirm that the following teams refuse to participate in the National Cup as drawn by the SFAI/FAI on the January 23.”
The FAI yesterday declined to comment on a situation that may now lead to walkovers against Cork teams and consequent appeals up to and including an expensive arbitration stage.
The teams effected: Corinthians Boys U12 U13 U15 U16; Carrigaline United U13 U14 U15 U16; Mayfield United U12; Wilton United U15; Rockmount U12 U15; Douglas Hall U13 U14 U15; Buttevant U16; Lakewood Athletic U12 U13; Springfield Ramblers U13 U16; Ringmahon Rangers U12 U14 U16; Leeds U14.
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