There was a double dose of optimism from the FAI yesterday with news that all players and officials tested across four clubs had tested negative for COVID-19 and dates confirmed for the National Women’s Team to continue their journey towards a first major finals.

Vera Pauw’s team occupy top spot having made an unbeaten start to qualifying, but the outbreak of COVID-19 forced the rescheduling of their remaining games against Germany and Ukraine.

Following meetings with UEFA, those games have been rescheduled with Ireland travelling to Germany on September 19th, playing away to Ukraine on October 23rd, and finishing at home to Germany on December 1st.

“It is fantastic to receive confirmation from UEFA that we will return to action this year and get to finish out our group games,” said Assistant Manager Eileen Gleeson.

“On the original schedule we would have been preparing to travel to Ukraine next month, but now we know that our games will come in September, October and December. There is a lot of work to do in advance of those games, especially with some of our players’ club seasons still undetermined while some at varying stages of returning to play.”

On the player testing side ahead of a hoped-for renewal of action in the SSE Airtricity League, FAI Medical Director Dr Alan Byrne received the results yesterday of the first batch of tests, carried out on Monday at Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and Bohemians. All those tested have been informed of their negative result.

The players and staff from the four clubs will be tested again next Monday ahead of a planned return to training on June 8th, as part of the pilot programme to ensure a safe return for football at all levels under the jurisdiction of the FAI.

“This is most welcome news and a very positive step as we work with Government, their agencies and all stakeholders in the game towards a safer return for all of Irish football,” said FAI Interim Deputy CEO Niall Quinn.


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