FA of Ireland extends football cessation until April 19

The Football Association of Ireland has extended its suspension of all football until April 19.

The FAI initially imposed a 12-day ban on all football activity on March 12 in the wake of the virus.

The move came as all sporting events in Ireland were suspended following an announcement from the government.

Racing had been continuing to stage meetings behind closed doors since March 13, as countries around the world try to limit the spread of coronavirus.

However, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced on Tuesday that all sporting events, even those without spectators, would be cancelled.

An FAI statement read: “The Football Association of Ireland today announces an extension to the cessation of all football under its jurisdiction until April 19 inclusive, following directives from Government, the Department of Health and UEFA.

“The decision to extend a deadline for the return to football has been taken in light of the ever-growing threat posed by the Covid-19 outbreak and in the best interests of our players, coaches, volunteers, supporters and staff. This decision will continue to be monitored on an ongoing basis.

“The FAI is in communication with the Department of Health and UEFA on COVID-19 and will continue to follow all government guidelines. The Association advises all members, volunteers and stakeholders to respect the HSE guidelines on social distancing during this pandemic.”

Clubs have once again been advised not to train during the suspension period, although the FAI is sticking with its June target for the resumption of the season.

“The Association remains committed to a June return for the SSE Airtricity League,” it added.

“Regular meetings are ongoing with representatives from the National League Executive Committee and the Professional Footballers’ Association of Ireland to help our clubs and players through this difficult time.

“FAI medical director Dr Alan Byrne has again advised the FAI that in the current exceptional circumstances, clubs should not engage in collective training during the cessation period for all football activity under the FAI’s jurisdiction.

“This recommendation is based on the government’s desire to avoid the spread of Covid-19 and Dr Byrne strongly advises against clubs training during this cessation period which runs until April 19 inclusive.”