Dublin: 14°C Wednesday 28 July 2021

FAI postpone all football activity in Ireland

Everything has been cancelled until at least 29 March.

FAI HQ in Abbottstown.
FAI HQ in Abbottstown.
Image: FAI

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION of Ireland have confirmed the suspension of all football activity until 29 March, in line with guidelines issued by the government earlier today.

“The Football Association of Ireland announces the cessation of all football under its jurisdiction until March 29 inclusive, and with immediate effect following directives from Government, the Department of Health and Uefa”, read a statement. 

“The FAI made this decision after a meeting in Dublin today with Government, the Department of Health and stakeholders from other national sporting bodies.

“The decision has been taken in light of the growing threat posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and in the best interests of our players, coaches, volunteers, supporters and staff. This decision will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

“The FAI again met with representatives from the National League Executive Committee and the Professional Footballer’s Association of Ireland today, and continues to work with both bodies to help our clubs and players through this difficult time.

“The FAI remains in communication with the Department of Health and UEFA on COVID-19 and will continue to follow all government guidelines.”

The cessation of games will have a serious impact on the finances of League of Ireland clubs, and the FAI have said they intend to develop a contingency plan to help mitigate against what is to come. 

The Irish players’ union intend asking either the department of sport or, more likely, Uefa, to intervene and loan the requisite funds – via the FAI – to pay players salaries in the 20 League of Ireland clubs while the sporting shutdown continues.

Leading union officials reckon they would need €1m over a three-month period to guarantee their members’ wages.

Meanwhile, doubts continue to surround the Euro 2020 play-off with Slovakia in Bratislava on 26 March. It is scheduled to go ahead behind closed doors at the moment, but the Slovak FA have written to Uefa to request a postponement, given their government have today ramped up their measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. 

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The FAI have cancelled a planned squad announcement and press conference with Mick McCarthy, originally scheduled for tomorrow. 

Uefa look set to offer clarity on the game next Tuesday, when they meet with stakeholders from across the European game via video conference. Representatives of all member associations, leagues, players and elite clubs are invited to attend, with reports today claiming that the postponing of the European Championships to 2021 will be up for discussion. 

With reporting by Garry Doyle 

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Gavin Cooney

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