A DECISION has been taken to end the Cork Youth Leagues season for 2019-20 as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
With no set date on a return to action, the committee of the league – which caters for football at U17, U18 and U19 levels – has opted to bring the current campaign to a close in order to allow teams to prepare for 2020-21, rather than continuing in a state of uncertainty with no clear framework for playing out this season.
There were close titles races in each of the Daly Industrial Supplies U17, U18 and U19 Leagues and so no champions have been declared.
The FAI had only allowed a small window, from August 28 to October 11 for outstanding competitions to be completed before the new season begins on October 16. The Cork Schoolboys League earlier this week were forced to cancel the unfinished campaign.
“We are obviously very disappointed that it had to end like this after all the hard work clubs had put in throughout the season,” said James Fogarty, the league’s fixtures secretary.
“But, in the interest of safety and common sense, I think we had to give all clubs the opportunity to regroup and plan for next season. We can now restart when safe to do so and make sure our league is bigger and better than ever.
"Also, it’s worth pointing out that if the FAI do finish our national cup competitions, we will do everything possible to support teams who are still in it.”
The statement from the league said: “The management committee of the Cork Youth Leagues considered the feedback from our member clubs in conjunction with the FAI pathway for a safer return to football and have decided to cancel all remaining CYL fixtures for the current season.
“In the even of national cup games being scheduled for a later date, we will support teams in those competitions if they wish to contest.
“The decision, while disappointing, does provide a degree of certainty that will allow clubs and administrators to prepare for season 2020-21.
“We thank all players, coaches, managers, clubs, referees and parents for their support and commitment over the last season and we look forward to renewing our friendships on the football pitches when it is deemed safe to do so.
“The health and safety of all is of paramount importance and we will follow all protocols and advice from the FAI in preparing for a safe return to football.
“All advice from FAI and medical advisory group will be forwarded to all clubs if and when it is received by the league."
Any return to formal training for amateur soccer teams of all ages is on hold until August 10 per the FAI's latest update.