FAI Announce Safer Return To Play Protocol

The Football Association of Ireland recently launched a Safer Return to Play Protocol for all clubs as a cornerstone of the move from cessation to kick-off that will see Adult Amateur, underage National Leagues and Underage football permitted to return to full-contact training, including training games between teams from the same club, from June 29th.

An updated version of the FAI’s Return to Train Protocol has also been published.

All documents and other items can be viewed HERE

FAI Medical Director Dr. Alan Byrne has also answered several FAQs – the video can viewed below…

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FAI Launch Safer Return To Training Protocol

The Football Association of Ireland has today released Safer Return To Training Protocol documents for all Adult Amateur and Under football, including the Underage National League.

Following the latest updates from Government on Friday 5th June 2020, the FAI confirmed the return to training date would be June 15th 2020.

Today, the release of the FAI Safer Return To Training Protocol includes several downloads for clubs, including a Risk Assessment template and a Compliance Officer Role and Responsibilities document.

Clubs should visit the link below and begin downloading and sharing the documents within their club to prepare for a return to training from June 15th 2020.

LINK:  https://www.fai.ie/domestic/news/fai-safer-return-to-training

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SFAI Statement On 2019/20 Competitions

The cancellation of the 2020 New Balance SFAI Kennedy Cup is a decision that is hugely regrettable, but one that ultimately proved unavoidable for the SFAI. We are genuinely disappointed having to make this decision, but in the over-riding interests of player welfare and all who were scheduled to attend, this is absolutely the correct decision at this point in time.

We are deeply mindful of the huge effort and sacrifices made by players, coaches and parents in the lengthy build-up to what is a highlight of the playing calendar and having to cancel is the last decision we wished to arrive at. We are however living in unprecedented times and the COVID-19 Pandemic has touched the lives of so many people, not just here in Ireland, but globally.

The pandemic has caused the death of over 1500 Irish citizens and over 325,000 globally. These are figures we cannot ignore and the protection and well-being of all has got to be our over-riding priority at this time.

The decision has been taken to ensure protection of all selected SFAI Kennedy Cup participants, along with the referees and also being acutely conscious of the strain our on-site medical staff are under at present, safety comes at the top of all priorities and in the interests of public health we believe this is the only appropriate and responsible course of action.

Likewise, the popular SFAI Skechers National Cups and SFAI SUBWAY Championship and Plate competitions have also suffered as a result of the HSE protocols with regard to travel, assembly and rules applying to social distancing. The combined effect has posed an unsurmountable challenge and these too, sadly, have fallen victim to the same decision to cancel.

As an Executive our first priority has got to be a duty of care to the players under the jurisdiction of the SFAI and cognisant of Government and HSE protocols and the rapidly approaching kick-off to the tournament, we were left with no alternative but to terminate plans for this year’s event.

The current coronavirus (COVID-19) has reached global pandemic levels and we, as an amateur body, have to accept that the situation is out of our control and we have to be guided by the professionals and experts in regard to assembly, social distancing and participation in what is a contact sport.

As an Association entrusted with the promotion of football at underage level here in Ireland, this was the last choice we wished to make. The assembly of players, coaches, parents along with spectators to the University of Limerick – given the current pandemic crisis left us with no alterative in the circumstances.

The SFAI however are constantly reviewing our competitions and while the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc with the world sporting calendar, we are also mindful of an improving environment that will lead to easing of restrictions that have impacted on all our lives.

Should the current ‘Phases’ of lifting of restrictions continue in a positive manner, we are also hopeful of the possibility of a ‘window of opportunity’ opening that might facilitate a rescheduling to ensure that this great competition can be completed.

Predicting a return to sport is problematic in these uncertain times but the SFAI Kennedy Cup – along with our sponsors New Balance, the University of Limerick, the host Limerick Schoolboy League and all our participating partners have worked hard to ensure the continued success of this national competition. If the health of the nation improves and allows for a return to action, we will examine all avenues that might allow the 2020 version go ahead at an alternative date.

We are grateful to all the leagues under the SFAI’s jurisdiction for their support in making this decision. We are also grateful to Dr Alan Byrne, the Football Association of Ireland Medical Director, for a pathway for a Return to Football advice and indeed to the national association for their continued support in these difficult times.

Finally, to all the players and their coaches and mentors, who have worked long and hard in preparation for the SFAI Kennedy Cup, we want to thank you for your commitment and loyalty to your leagues and your clubs. Rest assured, if an opportunity to reschedule the event at a later date arises, the SFAI will not be found wanting in ensuring that no stone will be left unturned in trying to achieve that goal, football will come through this crisis but in the meantime we have all to do our bit in the interest of health and safety to ensure that happens.

John Earley – SFAI Chairperson

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SFAI Update Following Meeting of SFAI Executive Committee

At its video conference meeting on 16/5/2020, the SFAI Executive Committee decided that all of its member Leagues shall be eligible to recommence fixtures and football activity once the schools have reopened, the weekend of 5/6 September next being the most appropriate date to effect the restart.

The restart will of course be subject to strict compliance with any Government agencies and the FAI’s  medical director Dr. Alan Byrne’s directions surrounding the Covid-19 virus pandemic.

With the uncertainty of the health situation and its restrictions it was agreed to clarify the situation and cancel the staging of the 2020 Kennedy Cup tournament, it was also agreed that SFAI competitions at both Skechers Cups and SUBWAY competitions levels, which have not been completed up to now, will not be completed.

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UPDATE: FAI confirm extension to cessation of all football activity

Further to a statement from the Football Association of Ireland issued this evening, an extension to the cessation order for all football under its jurisdiction until May 18th 2020 inclusive has been confirmed.

This comes following directives from Government and the Department of Health.

The Association will now examine what this lockdown extension and the guidelines published in the Government’s ‘Roadmap For Reopening Society and Business’ mean for all stakeholders at all levels of the game.

See the full FAI statement below:

The Football Association of Ireland has extended the cessation order for all football under its jurisdiction until May 18th inclusive, following the latest directives from Government and the Department of Health. 

The Association will now examine what this lockdown extension and the guidelines published in the Government’s ‘Roadmap For Reopening Society and Business’ mean for all stakeholders at all levels of the game. The FAI will move to evaluate the implications and update stakeholders from all strands of football as soon as feasible. 

The decision to extend the cessation order for all football until May 18thhas been taken in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the best interests of our players, coaches, volunteers, supporters and staff. 

FAI Medical Director Dr Alan Byrne has again advised the FAI that in the current exceptional circumstances, clubs should not engage in collective training during the cessation period for all football activity under the FAI’s jurisdiction.

The FAI is in constant 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. 

The Association also appeals to everyone involved with Irish football to stay at home over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

 

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UPDATE: Cessation Of All Football Activity Extended Further

Further to a statement from the Football Association of Ireland issued this afternoon, an extension to the cessation order for all football under its jurisdiction until May 5th 2020 inclusive has been confirmed.

This comes following directives from Government and the Department of Health.

See the full FAI statement below:

FAI extends cessation of football under its jurisdiction to May 5th

The Football Association of Ireland today announces an extension to the cessation order for all football under its jurisdiction until May 5th inclusive, following directives from Government and the Department of Health.

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 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.

FAI Medical Director Dr. Alan Byrne has again advised the FAI that in the current exceptional circumstances, clubs should not engage in collective training during the cessation period for all football activity under the FAI’s jurisdiction.

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.

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EXPLAINER: All you need to know about the SFAI 12 Day Stay At Home Challenge

The SFAI 12 Day Stay At Home Challenge launched on Wednesday, April 1st 2020 and features 12 football based challenges for young players to do.

Following on from the SFAI 12 Day Skills Challenge, the Stay At Home Challenge includes ball mastery elements, while there is also some fun and enjoyment involved.

Further to the success of the first set of challenges, the difficulty in the Stay At Home Challenge has been increased slightly but all players can improve their skills by taking part.

Some of the challenges are standalone, while others combine skills and tricks learned over previous days.

Each morning the next challenge is released and the tutorial videos will be posted at 9am on the SFAI’s social channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The videos will feature some of Ireland’s best street soccer stars and freestylers, while others will also feature.

Parents can send their own videos to the SFAI’s Facebook page via Messenger, with permission for the videos to be used/shared by the SFAI online.

A selection of the videos will be used on our social channels – we try and include as many as we can and do daily montages too.

Those taking part are reminded to do so in adherence with the HSE guidelines on social distancing. The challenges are for young players to try in their own home or place of residence.

Stay Safe, Stay Active and Stay Positive.

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SFAI 12 Day Skills Challenge

The SFAI 12 DAY Skills Challenge was launched on March 17th, and seen thousands of young players from across Ireland take part.

The daily challenges were based around ball mastery and enjoyment, offering young players the opportunity to improve their skills and express themselves.

The Challenge…

Day One Wall Ball…

Day Two Volleys…

Day Three Foot Stall…

Day Four Knee Juggling…

Day Five Time To Combine…

Day Six Inside Foot Volleys…

Day Eight Around The World…

Day Nine Knee Bounce…

Day Ten Neck Catch…

Day Eleven Time To Combine…

Day Twelve Freestyle…

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UPDATE: Cessation of all football activity extended

Further to a statement from the Football Association of Ireland this afternoon, an extension to the cessation of all football under its jurisdiction until April 19th inclusive has been confirmed.

This comes following directives from Government, the Department of Health and UEFA.

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STATEMENT: SFAI Update Regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19) and schoolboy football activities

Thursday 12th March 2020

STATEMENT: Schoolboys Football Association of Ireland Update Regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19) and schoolboy football activities

Dear Secretary,

Further to confirmation today that all schools across the country will close until at least March 29th 2020, and as the situation with Covid-19 is developing rapidly, the SFAI has taken the following decision.

The Schoolboys Football Association of Ireland is instructing all SFAI affiliated schoolboy leagues to suspend all football activities with immediate effect until further notice.

We understand the decision will bring with it disruption to leagues, clubs, coaches and players, but in these extraordinary times, there is a need to act now.

Further communications will issue in due course, but for now, please follow the advice of the HSE and the Government when it comes to further protective measures.

Regards,

Simon Walsh

SFAI Administrator

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