THE Cork Schoolboys League recently contacted local representatives and to outline their disappointment at the cessation of underage football as directed by the FAI.
The League are especially unhappy about the FAI’s decision to allow ‘elite academies’ of League of Ireland clubs to continue to play.
The CSL are asking the question, therefore, by allowing these players to play at underage level, then how is it not safe for other schoolboys to continue playing.
The Cork Schoolboys League have also made the point that the ‘elite’ players are going to the same schools as CSL players and some may even come from the same family.
Eddie Doyle, Honorary Secretary of the CSL, has indicated that he has been inundated with calls from clubs regarding this situation.
The clubs in question have spent huge sums of money and invested huge amounts of time in formulating and implementing the policies and procedures to make their facilities Covid safe and therefore safe for their members to play football in a secure outdoor environment.
The Cork Schoolboys League have had five weekends of matches since the 2020/2021 season started in early September.
A total of 826 games in that period have been completed without problems arising.
Two games were cancelled in that period due to the testing of players from the teams involved, both of which came back negative.
The League is adamant that clubs, and the parents of their players, are all acting in a responsible and safe way to ensure the children are safe and can be involved in sport again.
The League contacted the FAI, saying that now is not the right time to stop schoolboys playing football, especially when players deemed at a higher standard can continue to play.
Doyle commented on the situation.
“The value of sport to children's lives has never been more obvious, kids need sport for all sorts of relevant reasons at present.
"Therefore, it is simply not right that some kids can and some kids cannot
“We are asking the FAI to reverse their decision and allow all underage players to go out and play in the safe environment that all the clubs have created for them.”
CSL Chairman Peter Connolly added his concern.
“We have contacted the FAI and we are hoping they will respond to us soon. Kids need sport and family members and club representatives also need this outlet at the moment.
"The clubs have invested a lot of time and money to get things up and running and we think our clubs have top of the range facilities and are very able to deal with the many challenges present at the moment.”