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FAI seeks Government advice on return to play protocols for amateur adult and underage games

The association’s Steering Group has highlighted three key areas which have been submitted to Government officials.

A view of FAI HQ.
A view of FAI HQ.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE FAI IS seeking guidance and advice from the Government surrounding return to play protocols for the amateur adult and underage games.

The association’s Steering Group, who held a meeting on Monday, has highlighted three key areas which have been submitted to Government officials.

These areas relate to how to manage risks for volunteers, clarity on effects of social distancing, and guidance on infrastructural costs for amateur adult and underage clubs.

The meeting was held following further consultation with stakeholders in the wake of the publication of the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business.

Under that road map, the Government will permit sports team leagues like the GAA and soccer to resume on 20 July “where limitations are placed on the numbers of spectators and where social distancing can be maintained.”

“The Football Association of Ireland’s Steering Group has highlighted three key areas around return to play protocols for the amateur adult and underage game, which have been submitted to Government officials,” a statement released by the FAI on Monday reads.

“The FAI Steering Group met again on Monday to discuss the conditions necessary to facilitate a safe and timely return for all amateur adult and underage players, match officials and volunteers.

“The latest meeting followed further consultation with stakeholders in the wake of the publication of the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“The FAI now awaits a response from Government as it seeks guidance on the following issues:

  • A clear policy to manage all risks for volunteers around a return to play and to ensure a safe environment for all participants
  • Clarity on the effects of social distancing on contact sport as per the phases outlined in the Government’s Roadmap
  • Guidance on the infrastructural costs for amateur adult and underage clubs around safe return to play protocols

Steering Group Facilitator Ger McDermott said in the statement:

We await a response from Government, having submitted a series of key questions to Sport Ireland around a safe return to play for everyone involved in amateur adult and underage football.

“We again advise all affiliates to postpone any decisions on a return to training or football until the Government responds. The Steering Group will then meet to consider the outcome of that response.

“Only then can we issue clear guidelines to our clubs, leagues and all affiliates on a safe return to training and playing. We thank them all for their patience to date and for continuing to abide by HSE guidelines.”

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