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SFAI row deepens as Cork clubs pull out

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FAI Chief Executive John Delaney met with Cork's schoolboy clubs

FAI Chief Executive John Delaney met with Cork's schoolboy clubs

Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

FAI Chief Executive John Delaney met with Cork's schoolboy clubs

CORK'S schoolboy clubs have stood firm in their withdrawal from the SFAI national cup competition despite a late intervention by FAI chief executive John Delaney.

On Wednesday, a delegation representing the 11 aggrieved clubs met Delaney at Abbotstown looking for an explanation as to why one league, the Dublin and District Schoolboys League (DDSL), were allowed to break an SFAI rule by seeding their own regional draw on January 8.

Speculation the next day suggested that Delaney's powers of persuasion had brokered peace and next week's fixtures would be fulfilled, but that proved a false dawn.

Instead, the 11 clubs voted unanimously to reject the FAI's pleadings, questioning the integrity of a competition they deem now to be "unfair and flawed".

Despite two and a half hours of talks – which Delaney attended for over an hour – the Rebels left without answers to crucial questions they had posed.

The net effect is that the Cork teams will forfeit any matches they are due to play in the round-of-32 next weekend.

However, the dispute may not end there, with the Rebels reserving their right to take the matter further, up to and including arbitration.

That's because the Cork clubs remain steadfast in their view that Rule 2 (c) was breached by the DDSL.

The rule reads: "All teams from all regions will be included in the first-round draw, no seeding of teams shall be allowed."

Delaney admitted on Wednesday that the FAI had allowed the DDSL carry out a draw using "partial seeding".

Two FAI board members, Michael Cody and Donal Conway, also attended that draw as independent observers.

With other leagues aghast at the perceived favouritism towards the DDSL, it will come as no surprise if a flood of protests and appeals arise following ties against teams from the biggest league in the country.

Irish Independent