Monday 19 March 2018

FAI move to overrule schoolboy body in row over 'radius rule'

John Delaney
John Delaney

John Fallon

THE controversial radius rule saga within underage football has encountered a new twist, with the FAI calling an emergency general meeting for September 17.

The summit comes in response to the decision on Saturday by the Schoolboy FAI (SFAI) council to propose a restriction of 50km on the distance players aged 16 and under can travel from their school to join a club.

Annoyed at this development, the FAI want to introduce a radius of 80km within their own rule book – thereby superseding any SFAI provision.

Furthermore, under the FAI's proposal, the distance will be calculated from the player's "usual place of residence" as opposed to registered school.

FAI CEO John Delaney informed a meeting of development officers in Carlow on Tuesday of the association's intention to press ahead with the 80km plan.

Last night, SFAI chairman Mick O'Brien confirmed that his organisation, which caters for 100,000 players across Ireland, will still host their EGM on Saturday week in Galway. It remains to be seen whether their 50km proposal is put to a vote of members, given the FAI's own EGM takes place three days later.

The radius rule was introduced at the 2011 SFAI AGM primarily to stem the talent drain from regional leagues to Dublin.

Only one team, Kilnamanagh AFC's U-15s, were found guilty of breaching the rule and hit with the accompanying sanction of removal from their league last season.

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