Sunday 18 March 2018

Delaney may step in over schoolboy civil war

John Moore

SPECULATION is mounting that FAI chief executive John Delaney will shortly intervene in the worsening civil war that is threatening to tear schoolboy football apart.

Amazingly, FAI president Paddy McCaul made no reference to the dispute between the Schoolboys Football Association of Ireland (SFAI) and the Dublin and District Schoolboys League (DDSL) when he addressed the SFAI's annual general meeting in Birr on Saturday.

That meeting only served to underline the bitter divisions that exist in the game at schoolboy level – a series a motions proposed by the DDSL were all voted down by the other delegates in what has become a clear Dublin versus the rest of the country affair.

Even a motion that the SFAI rulebook be put on their website and an up-to-date hard copy be made available to all clubs every September was rejected – presumably on the basis that it was proposed by the DDSL.

The main focus of the dispute centres on the SFAI rule which forbids players to sign for a club whose home ground is more than 49km from their school.

Traditionally, many promising players chose to travel much further afield – mainly but not exclusively to Dublin – to play at a higher level.

While the SFAI decided to outlaw this practice, the FAI's former high performance director Wim Koevermans always argued that the "best should train with the best and play with the best".

On a separate level, the DDSL could be facing internal strife. It is understood that several members of the executive are on the brink of resignation because of what they see as interference by the board of directors in the day-to-day running of the league.

Irish Independent

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