Could FAI directive cause fixture problems?





The FAI Cup Final between Cork City and Dundalk which takes place this Sunday (November 4th) at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin will impact on junior soccer across the country due to an FAI directive which asserts that no fixtures should be scheduled on the same day as Republic of Ireland internationals and showpiece events such as the national cup final.

  While it’s at least an attempt to encourage soccer fans to attend those games, it could prove problematic later on in the season as the Irish climate inevitably leads to the cancellation of local fixtures – some teams already have games to make up even at this early stage. The FAI might mean well but they may end up causing a pile-up and headaches for fixtures secretaries across the country.

  While the domestic game at senior level still needs all the support it can get, the two recent standard bearers Cork City and Dundalk, both top class operations from beyond ‘The Pale’, should hopefully serve up a cracking final. Sadly however, I don’t think the FAI should expect to see hoards of interested junior footballers from across the country at the Aviva this Sunday.

  Looking back over the 2018 League of Ireland campaign, I have been impressed with the standard of football on offer. There’s plenty to admire about the way certain clubs are being run and while there’s still work to be done on and off the field, it must be repeated that the move to summer soccer certainly seems to have been beneficial.

  The next logical move should be to steer junior clubs away from the English league calendar and allow players and coaches to make the most of the summer months. It will preserve pitches, prevent fixture pile-ups and most importantly, allow proper football to be played in safer conditions. The word from WhatsApp groups across the Roscommon and District Football League is that league administrators are already testing the water for such a change. It’s time to have the conversation at least.