Club Statement – Galway United game
12th May 2021
The following Statement is issued on behalf of Cabinteely FC.
Following the cancellation of the clubs SSE Airtricity League game against Galway United at Stradbrook on April 9, and after careful consideration by the board of Cabinteely FC, we have decided not to refer the decision of the FAI appeals committee to Arbitration.
Based on our previous experience an ‘independent’ FAI Arbitration is not the solution.
Recent events within the SSE Airtricity League have highlighted the serious difficulties that clubs now face in how they manage the FAI Covid 19 Rules.
Introduced as an addition to the FAI Participation Agreement; clubs in the league should be concerned when these FAI Covid 19 Rules are being used to take precedence over the direct instructions of the Public Health Authority.
The changed rules were brought in to allow clubs have enough players available to cover individual cases. Even the FAI has admitted that it was never intended as a way to replace an entire squad.
It is our opinion that teams are being unfairly punished for their honesty in disclosing positive Covid 19 cases.
FAI CEO Jonathan Hill commented following the removal of the euros from Dublin that ”the FAI respected the Governments position and ultimately public safety is the most important thing”.
Unfortunately, it appears this common sense approach is not extended to clubs who uphold public safety recommendations.
Cabinteely FC want to point out that in the week of the Galway game, all our players returned negative Covid test results.
On Thursday 8th April we received the first contact from the HSE who made both written and verbal recommendations.
In simple terms, Cabinteely FC was asked to identify possible close contacts from the week before. A meeting was held with the FAI who agreed to contact the HSE on our behalf once the players were identified.
At 10.00am on Friday (April 9), Cabinteely FC emailed the FAI with the required information and yet we are now aware that it was after 2pm before the FAI contacted the HSE.
Satisfied that Cabinteely FC had done everything required the FAI gave Galway United players the ok to travel at 1.30pm.
Cabinteely FC meanwhile continued with the preparation for the game and had a squad of players available to play. It was always our intention to fulfil the fixture and at no time did anyone believe that the game would not be on.
However, at 4pm we were told by the FAI that the ‘HSE were still advising against further training or matches while awaiting results of screening tests for the team, scheduled for the 12th of April’.
The Board of Cabinteely FC then met and agreed that under no circumstances could we breach the recommendations of the HSE and leave the club or the FAI open to potential legal action.
Within 80 minutes of being notified, the board confirmed our decision to the FAI.
The debate for clubs and fans going forward is should a team forfeit a game on health and safety grounds or play their U19 players against professional players and accept the consequences.
We reserve the right to consider all other options, as future Covid 19 cases within clubs cannot be ruled out.
We ask other League of Ireland clubs to call for a review of the FAI Covid 19 rules for season 2021 and rearrange any fixtures affected by these rules.