Discussions Ongoing with Government

Sport Ireland has been taking in submissions from across the sporting community for an overarching discussion with Government about returns to play.

It is understood that this is the preferred route for flows of information so as to avoid mixed messaging on what would be common areas of concern.

The FAI steering group managing the response to the pandemic has made its submission seeking clarity particularly in the area of a return of amateur adult and underage football.

The group met again yesterday in relation to a potential return for football and has advised all affiliates to postpone any decisions on a return to training or football until after the FAI concludes these talks with Sport Ireland and HSE officials.

The broad understanding is that team sports will not be encouraged to return to training until July 20th as part of the fourth phase of a return to activity.

“We have submitted a series of questions to Sport Ireland seeking clarity on the five phases of easing the COVID-19 restrictions, as outlined in the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business,” said FAI Interim Deputy CEO Niall Quinn.

“Our Medical Director Dr Alan Byrne is liaising with the HSE and the Department of Sport on the conditions that will facilitate a safe return for our players, coaches, volunteers and referees at the earliest opportunity.”

“As soon as we have that detailed information, we will issue guidelines for our leagues and clubs on a return to training and action. We thank them for their patience and understanding as we gather all information before making the best decision for all concerned.”

“Football will be back when the time is right. In the meantime, we thank all our members for obeying the lockdown and urge them to continue to follow HSE guidelines.”

There are reports in today’s Irish Independent of a potential four-team tournament for the clubs that would have been involved in European action at this time of the year. That would include Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians and Derry City.

It is being speculated that games could take place behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium with potential negotiation of TV or streaming rights outside of existing contracts with RTÉ, eir Sport and Trackchamp.

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