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FAI extend football shutdown until May 5th but still hope for June return

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The FAI have said that no football will take place in Ireland until at least May 5th. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The FAI have said that no football will take place in Ireland until at least May 5th. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

The FAI have said that no football will take place in Ireland until at least May 5th. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The FAI are still hoping for a return to football action in June even though the order to halt all activity has been extended until May 5th on government orders.

Clubs had been told to prepare for senior football in the SSE Airtricity League to resume on June 19th following the interruption due to Covid-19, with the new Women's National League also due to begin in June, but all football has been on hold due to the national policy on combating the virus.

The FAI today confirmed that the ban on football had been extended "following directives from Government and the Department of Health".

A statement said: "The decision to extend the deadline for the return to football has been taken in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the best interests of our players, coaches, volunteers, supporters and staff. This decision will continue to be monitored on an ongoing basis.

"The FAI is in communication with the Department of Health and UEFA on COVID-19 and will continue to follow all government guidelines. The Association advises all members, volunteers and stakeholders to respect the HSE guidelines on social distancing during this pandemic. We also appeal to everyone involved with Irish football to stay at home over the Easter weekend.

"The Association remains committed to a June return to action for the SSE Airtricity League and Women's National League. Regular meetings are ongoing with representatives from the National League Executive Committee and the Professional Footballer’s Association of Ireland to help our clubs and players through this difficult time."

The FAI also stressed the advice from their Medical Director, Dr Alan Byrne, that all collective training should be off limits. "This recommendation is based on the government’s desire to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and Dr. Byrne strongly advises against clubs training during this cessation period which runs until May 5th inclusive," the statement added.

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