We learned yesterday from UEFA that Ireland’s Play-Off for Euro 2020 will not now go ahead in June and that no date has yet been scheduled for when it will be.

It means with certainty now that the issue of the Republic of Ireland Senior Manager’s job will not now be solved by a defeat and that some accommodation will have to be made between Mick McCarthy’s reign and Stephen Kenny’s taking over the job.

That was supposed to happen both at the end of July and after the conclusion of the Euro 2020 campaign. Now the two are out of line.

Pausing everything and pushing things back a year is not an easy option in this case as the Euro 2020 Play=off against Slovakia and then potentially Bosnia Herzegovina or Northern Ireland will bump up against or even cross over with the opening games in the UEFA Nations League and the early qualification rounds for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

We do not have sight of either of the contracts signed with the two managers and in the bigger scheme of things it is hardly the most pressing of matters but for the two individuals and the FAI, it is important.

It was a deal that was borne out of answering multiple different calls for experience and youth, for reaching to the established credentials and supporting the relevance of the domestic game.

Now it may well be that there will be a period where something else new for Ireland but not unique in the world game may have to be tried, that of Joint Managers.

Of course, there will be ego and responsibility to be figured out, inside the Manager’s minds as much as in the boardroom of the FAI, but these are circumstances that we have never experienced before.

If we are on the point of accepting a revolving Taoiseach in a time of unprecedented national emergency then surely the management of a group of young footballers can hardly be seen as impossible.

The Women’s UEFA 2021 Qualifier away to Ukraine has also been postponed but no decision has yet been taken on the hosting of those games in England in 2021. They will now clash with the Euro 2020 Men’s Finals and the Olympics and the likelihood must exist now that they will be pushed to 2022 allowing them to stand alone that Summer with the World Cup of that year not taking place until November and December.


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