The Football Association of Ireland has today accepted an apology from Bohemian FC for not following FAI advice on small group training during the COVID-19 pandemic, following discussions on Thursday between the club and the FAI, after the club had a
The Football Association of Ireland has today accepted an apology from Bohemian FC for not following FAI advice on small group training during the COVID-19 pandemic, following discussions on Thursday between the club and the FAI, after the club had admitted to facilitating small group training sessions on six occasions since May 18th.
Those sessions went against the advice issued by FAI Medical Director Dr Alan Byrne as the FAI continues to work with Government and the HSE to develop a pathway for a safer return to football for all players, coaches, officials and volunteers at all levels of the game in Ireland.
The FAI has included Bohemians in a four-team pilot programme to facilitate a safer return to football and the Association has incurred significant costs in undertaking COVID-19 testing on the club’s first-team squad and staff.
Bohemians have acknowledged the merits of the FAI’s pathway and have agreed to work within the guidelines set down by the Association in advance of a return to collective training on Monday, June 8th, and ahead of a four-team tournament in July, which will also feature fellow European qualifiers Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers and Derry City.
“We accept that facilitating small group training sessions was contrary to FAI advice and against the professional advice offered by the FAI’s medical director Dr Alan Byrne,” said a Bohemians spokesperson.
“We are aware of our position as role models for the game in Ireland and are grateful to be one of the four teams involved in the pilot programme designed to secure a safer return to football for everyone involved with our sport across the country.
“We regret if our actions, although made in good faith in line with phase one of the government roadmap, may have placed that programme at risk.
"As a club, we apologise to the FAI and to all our fellow stakeholders for any offence caused. We are mindful of the huge amount of work and sacrifice being made by so many in this country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and we thank all those on the frontline for their ongoing contributions.”
Welcoming the Bohemians' apology, FAI Interim CEO Gary Owens said: “We are happy that Bohemians have reaffirmed their commitment to the pathway we are on to ensure a safer return to football. The guidelines we have issued are based on the best possible medical advice from our Medical Director Dr Alan Byrne.
“It is imperative that all our clubs abide by our guidelines to ensure we can get our players of all ages back on the pitch in the safest environment possible. Our pilot programme is central to this effort and we welcome confirmation from Bohemians that they will follow our guidelines and help Irish football return to action as soon as it is safe and feasible.”