FOR the first time since the suspension of the league, I’m optimistic that there will be some sort of League of Ireland football played again this year.
I was never convinced that the FAI would actually come through and deliver a financial package that would satisfy clubs to resume playing and who could blame me going on their past behaviour but after Wednesday’s meeting, I’m happy to admit It seems I was wrong.
Of course, the FAI's new €3.3m rescue package is still reportedly reliant on support from a third party – government and FIFA – so clubs will still be sceptical about making a commitment to return without guarantees.
It’s hard to predict the future and who knows will supporters be allowed to attend some of the games were the league to resume.
That would play a major part in the league recommencing, which is why it could be until the government makes further indications about lifting restrictions before clubs make their final decision.
It’s certainly getting frustrating for players.
We would all love the league to resume but we just want a definite answer one way or another, at least then players could properly make a plan instead of being left in limbo.
Players are just as much in the dark as supporters and we don’t know should we be training to return to football or preparing our CV for a life without it.
Derry City, Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk and Bohemians in preparation for their European campaign and their proposed four-team tournament? That now looks like it will never take place.
It must be reassuring for those clubs after UEFA announced dates for the next season’s European competition.
At least their return to training will not have been a waste of time should the league not resume.
One of the savings for clubs suggested on the new proposal by the FAI is that Covid-19 testing will not be mandatory which might satisfy clubs but players mightn’t be comfortable with this.
I certainly would be worried returning to action knowing that people I am coming in contact with will have only had their temperature checked. I have a family to think about and I wouldn’t feel safe returning to training without more assurance other than people having had their temperature taken and I imagine other players will feel the same.
I do now believe there will be a league this year but not with every team.
Opting not to return shouldn't be a choice for clubs if the league resumes because some will use this pandemic as an excuse to avoid their responsibilities they have to their employees and take the easy option of not returning.