Club Statement to FAI & DDSL

Official Club Statement to the DDSL and FAI from our Director of Coaching, Alo Byrne, on behalf of the club.

To whom it may concern.

It is with great dismay and frustration that I write this.

Lourdes Celtic Football Club feel that the decision to allow underage League of Ireland teams continue to play football, whilst putting a halt to grassroots football, on the basis that there is an assumption in place that children that play so called ‘elite’ football are entitled to play football is nonsensical and without foundation.

I am a qualified sport and health scientist and can assure you that there is currently no valid basis or grounds to discriminate against children that participate in grassroots football versus so called ‘elite’ children. A 13 year old playing LoI football is the same physiologically as a 13 year old child playing grassroots football. Both of these children, assuming they have no underlying health conditions and are following government guidelines regarding hygiene precautions, have the same level of risk with regard to Covid-19. Children playing in LoI underage set ups currently by law can not be contractually obligated or paid to play and train in a football environment, so therefore can not be classified as ‘elite’ athletes.

Can the FAI provide a valid reason or point us towards research that suggests that so called ‘elite’ players, parents and coaching staff are of a lesser risk of contracting Covid-19 or indeed spreading the virus?

Our club has gone to great lengths in terms of volunteer time, effort and club expense to ensure that our club meets government guidelines to ensure a safe return to play for all children, parents and coaches in the club. This decision to discriminate against all grassroots clubs shows the level of contempt and disregard that the FAI is perceived to have for grassroots football organisations and gives the impression that all the organisation cares about is upholding an adult driven, elite agenda that serves a minority of children participating in the sport in this country.

I strongly appeal to the FAI to review this decision and communicate our disapproval with your government colleagues.

Alo Byrne | Director of Coaching – Lourdes Celtic Football Club