IT has been confirmed that the Cork Youth Leagues 2020-21 season will begin on Saturday, August 29.
On Monday night, the committee of the league held its first meeting since the Covid-19 pandemic began and the chief items for discussion were a return to football at U17, U18 and U19 levels.
As with all local leagues, CYL fixtures were initially suspended in March due to the coronavirus outbreak and, with the lockdown continuing into the summer, in May the committee took the decision to cancel the 2019-20 campaign.
At the time, the league’s fixtures secretary James Fogarty said: “We are obviously very disappointed that it had to end like this after all the hard work clubs had put in throughout the season.
“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.
“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.”
Thankfully, it is now safe to plan that return, in line with FAI’s safety guidelines.
The league’s AGM will be held on Tuesday, August 4 and clubs will be informed of the venue and social-distancing restrictions in the coming days.
Cognisant of the financial impact that the pandemic has had on clubs, the league has reduced annual affiliation fees by 33 percent to €200 for the 2020-21 season.
Clubs are asked to register teams by Friday, July 10, with registration forms available on the league website, www.cork youthleagues.ie.
With strong demand expected for the U19 league, the league will ensure its quality by restricting it to 12 teams. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
The link for registering teams can be found at http://corkyouthleagues.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Registration-Form.pdf