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Government u-turn allows FAI's U17 and U19 leagues continue

They were initially cancelled, but have been allowed to continue in line with the decision to allow the GAA stage their minor and U20 championships.

The U17 and U19 leagues can be concluded.
The U17 and U19 leagues can be concluded.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

THE GOVERNMENT HAVE u-turned on their recommendation to cancel the final rounds of games in the FAI’s U19 and U17 leagues. 

The FAI announced with regret last week that the remaining games in the U19, U17, U15 and U13 leagues were cancelled under public health advice, in spite of the country’s return to Level Three. 

Many pointed out the inconsistency of cancelling the FAI’s leagues while allowing the GAA to proceed with their minor and U20 championships, including Sinn Fein’s spokesperson on sport, Chris Andrews, who said he would raise the issue with the government and “would be seeking clarity as to why so many sports are yet again being treated like second class citizens.”

Junior minister for sport Jack Chambers has tonight announced the government will allow the U17 and U19 leagues to conclude, though there is no such exemption for the U13 and U15 leagues. 

“The FAI Elite Under 17s and Under 19s leagues can now recommence and continue in line with the decision to facilitate the Minor and Under 20 Intercounty Championship”, tweeted Deputy Chambers. 

He added he has written to all national sporting bodies to develop “tailored proposals” for the continuation of each sport under the Covid guidelines. 

Welcoming the announcement tonight, FAI CEO Jonathan Hill thanked Ministers Catherine Martin and Chambers along with the Department of Sport. 

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“Only today we have written to Minister Chambers and Sport Ireland assuring them of our full support for the initiative they have just launched to allow all competitive sport to return as quickly as possible. We thank the Government and all the politicians who have worked in the best interests of our footballers during this pandemic and look forward to continuing our work together on behalf of Irish sport in the battle against Covid-19.”

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Gavin Cooney

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