THE 2019-'20 Cork Schoolboys League soccer season has been declared null and void.
The Schoolboys FAI instructed its members to prepare for the new campaign, instead of attempting to complete the outstanding leagues and cups.
The directive from the FAI had been that all competitions were to be run off from August 28 to October 11. This was a very small window for the schoolboys leagues, given how many games had fallen foul to the weather over the winter months before the Covid-19 shutdown in mid-March.
Other leagues in Cork have until June 15 to apply to the FAI to avail of the extension. The new season is penciled in from October 16.
Teams aren't permitted to return to full collective training until August 10, though they can return in smaller numbers from July 20.
The SFAI stated: "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 September 5-6 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."
Throughout the past few weeks, the Cork Schoolboys League were continually working on and updating possible starting dates based details emerging from statements issued by the FAI.
The CSL had prepared a full fixture list from June 20 to finish the season by August 23 initially, which was then redone to start on July 20 to finish on September 27. However, the new return date of September 5 made it impossible for the League to finish the season in any reasonable time, namely because the advantage of availing of night fixtures could no longer be relied on.
This plan is, of course, was weather-permitting and the possibility of a bad spell of rain could have had obvious implications for further disruptions. Ultimately, the CSL was left with no option but to call the current 2019/2020 campaign null and void.
Competitions such as the National Cup and Kennedy Cup tournament for the Cork U14 squad are also gone.
The Cork Schoolboys League have issued a further statement regarding registration for the new season and how they propose to solve other problems including the creation of new league tables.
The end of the 2019/2020 campaign will come as a blow to the many youngsters playing the game throughout the county for varying reasons and the likes of the players in Stephen Bermingham’s Kennedy Cup squad will be particularly disappointed.