Friday 24 May 2019

FAI back down on summer football plans after schoolboy leagues opt to return to traditional schedule

Ruud Dokter
Ruud Dokter Newdesk

Schoolboy football leagues will be allowed to return to a traditional schedule after the FAI backed down on their plans for seasons to run over the summer months.

FAI High Performance Director Ruud Dokter wanted all leagues to operate their season from March to October but deviating from wrapping the campaign around the school calendar has proved a disaster. The Dublin and District Schoolboys’ League confirmed last month that they will return to a traditional season schedule after voting to go against the FAI directive around summer football.

The DDSL adopted a summer schedule on a two-season trial, but after a survey was taken among clubs, it was decided to revert back to a September-May schedule from later this year.

The FAI was far from impressed at a plank of their player development plan (PDP) falling asunder.

They called for a meeting with the DDSL’s top brass but their pleas didn't sway the league’s position of implementing the will of their clubs.

And tonight the FAI have released a statement saying that schoolboy leagues can return to a traditional September to May schedule, after consultation with the Schoolboys Football Association of Ireland and the FAI board.

"The Board of the FAI is aware that a number of SFAI affiliate leagues have had difficulty implementing trophy football in the calendar season and feel their leagues would be better equipped to deliver trophy football by following the winter season in line with the school calendar.

"Following discussions between the FAI and the SFAI, the Board of the FAI have agreed the following:

"Any underage league currently playing in the calendar season or about to implement calendar season football may continue to do so.

"Those leagues currently playing in calendar season that have faced serious challenges may consider a return to the winter season.

"Leagues currently playing in the winter season may continue to do so.

"SFAI competitions will remain in their current format.

"The FAI, in conjunction with the SFAI, are establishing a Committee to look into this particular matter and are aware that any change may pose challenges as the non-alignment of the Schoolboy season with the National League season can lead to difficulties for various stakeholders."

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