Given the uncertainty surrounding football, Esker Celtic will keep this page as up-to-date as possible.

FAI Update on Level 5 Guidelines for Football – 21/10/20

Following clarification from Government today, the FAI confirms the following Level 5 guidelines for football will come into effect from midnight tonight but please be aware these are the latest directives and subject to change:

All underage club teams from Under-19 age group down are permitted to train outdoors during Level 5 restrictions.

All outdoor training for underage players is to be non-contact in pods of no more than 15 and in compliance with the latest Government guidelines.

For underage training – players/coaches/parents/guardians are permitted to travel more than 5 kilometres to attend an organised training session.For underage training – players/coaches/parents/guardians are permitted to travel outside their resident county to attend an organised training session.

SSE Airtricity Premier Division and First Division and Women’s National League matches and training continue.

All other domestic adult and underage football matches remain in cessationIn accordance with Government Level 5 guidelines, training is not permitted for non-elite adult teams.

The FAI will continue to talk to Government and will monitor any changes to Level 5 restrictions.

We will update these guidelines as required and as soon as possible.

Club Covid Announcement – 21/10/20

As you are by now all aware, we are operating under Level 5 restrictions for at least the next 6 weeks.

Effective from today, there are a few points to note for going forward…

* All managers, coaches and volunteers aged over 18 MUST wear a face mask at training.

* Parents attending training MUST also wear a face mask in the viewing area and adhere to social distancing.

* If you are not wearing a face mask to training, you will be denied entry.

We ask that you adhere to all other safety protocols, refrain from congregating and avoid close physical contact with members from different households.

Please work with us and together we can help protect each other and continue to train safely.

Thank you for your continued support.

Covid Compliance Officers
Esker Celtic Football Club

Cessation of grassroots and underage football matches in Dublin – 18/9/20

Following the introduction of Level 3 COVID-19 restrictions in Dublin, the Football Association of Ireland announces the cessation from midnight tonight of all Adult Amateur and Underage football matches in Dublin with the exception of elite football – namely the SSE Airtricity League, Women’s National League and all five underage National Leagues.

Furthermore, any coach or player resident in Dublin but involved with an Adult Amateur or non-elite Underage club outside of the county is not permitted to travel outside Dublin for any football activity.

Adult amateur and non-elite Underage clubs in Dublin can continue to train.

The FAI will continue to monitor Government guidelines for Dublin and will update this cessation order as required.

Club Covid Update – 21/8/20

Following the recent government announcement related to sports and yesterday’s announcement from the FAI, Esker Celtic Football Club are asking that only one parent and players siblings attend this weekends fixtures or training, were possible. For those who do attend fixtures or training, please maintain social distancing protocols.

This is not something we expected and do realise that it may cause some inconveniences, but the matter is out of our hands so we do hope everyone will understand.

We also hope everyone can help us on this matter as we want to ensure that players can continue with their activities and that the club complies with public health measures.

Thank you for your continued support.

Covid Compliance Officers
Esker Celtic Football Club

FAI Statement on new Government guidelines – 18/8/20

The FAI informs all affiliates of the following directives, effective from midnight tonight until further notice:

  • The SSE Airtricity League and Women’s National League will continue behind closed doors
  • Adult Amateur and Underage Football – including underage National Leagues – will continue, subject to updated Government and FAI guidelines
  • No spectators are permitted at any match under the jurisdiction of the FAI
  • Only those essential to a fixture may attend as per updated Protocols to be released by the FAI on Wednesday
  • Outdoor training is permitted in groups of up to 15 maximum under the new Government guidelines
  • More than one training session can take part at a venue provided the training pods are no larger than 15
  • Underage training groups must include two coaches and up to 13 players as per FAI Child Welfare and Safeguarding Policy
  • Adult training groups must include one coach and up to 14 players
  • As per Government guidelines for indoor events, indoor football and Futsal events are suspended until further notice 
  • Indoor club meetings must adhere to the new Government guideline of a maximum of six people in attendance

The Football Association of Ireland wishes to acknowledge the hard work to date of all players, coaches, match officials, club officials, volunteers, parents and guardians for their dedication to our Protocols in ensuring the safer return to football. The FAI urges all members to remain aware of their personal responsibility to abide by Government guidelines during this COVID-19 pandemic. We again thank all frontline workers for their efforts and commitment during this difficult time.

The FAI will remain in discussion with Government agencies in relation to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

FAI Safer Return To Play Protocol – 25/6/20

The Football Association of Ireland has launched a Safer Return to Play Protocol for all clubs as a cornerstone of the move from cessation to kick-off that will see Adult Amateur, underage National Leagues and Underage football permitted to return to full-contact training, including training games between teams from the same club, from June 29th.

Clubs are authorised to make a full return to playing friendly games from July 11th and competitive matches from July 18th.

The FAI has also issued a second edition of the Safer Return to Training Protocol that will apply to all clubs under its jurisdiction from June 29th. Clubs and teams in the SSE Airtricity League and Women’s National League clubs will receive a separate Protocol. Match Officials are included in the Safer Return to Play Protocol and, in addition, will receive their own Protocol guidelines. 

The FAI’s Steering Group, in consultation with Medical Director Dr. Alan Byrne, has published these Protocols below.

The Safer Return to Play Protocol is based on the latest Government guidelines and advice from the Department of Health and HSE as lockdown measures around COVID-19 ease. The FAI remains committed to the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business and any return dates announced today are subject to change, as per Government guidelines.

The decision to move from cessation to a return to competitive football from July 18th applies to Adult Amateur and Underage football under the jurisdiction of the FAI and will apply to all players, coaches, match officials, club officials, volunteers, parents and guardians.

Under the new Safer Return to Play Protocol, the FAI has approved the following measures:

• Adult Amateur and Underage football can return to full contact training, including training games between teams from the same club, from June 29th

• Adult Amateur and Underage football can return to playing friendly games from July 11th

• Adult Amateur and Underage football can return to playing competitive matches from July 18th

• All Adult Amateur and Underage Leagues operating a Winter season, who have had applications to extend their 2019-2020 season approved, can resume League fixtures from July 18th and must have all competitions completed by September 14th

• All other Adult Amateur and Underage Leagues operating a Winter Season can commence their 2020/21 season from July 18th  

• All Adult Amateur and Underage Leagues operating a Summer Season can resume/commence from July 18th and must have all competitions completed by November 30th

U15 Premier 2 team first to resume training – 24/6/20

This evening we welcomed back our U15 Premier 2 team to training.

Their coach, and one of our Covid-19 Compliance Officers (CCOs), Stephen Curran noted and reported the following…

Hands Sanitized ✅
Equipment Sanitized ✅
Players, Coaches, Parents all Covid compliant ✅
Covid Compliance Present ✅
Contact Tracing Recorded ✅
Smiling, happy faces on players and parents ✅

Welcome back to football! ⚽🙌

FAI moves from Cessation to Kick-Off as Football prepares for Return to Action – 19/6/20

The FAI’s Steering Group, in consultation with Medical Director Dr. Alan Byrne, has recommended the transition from cessation to kick-off, based on the latest Government guidelines and advice from the Department of Health and HSE as lockdown measures around COVID-19 ease.

The FAI remains committed to the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business and any return dates announced today are subject to change, as per Government guidelines.

A separate statement around the SSE Airtricity League, Women’s National League and underage National Leagues has also been published.

The decision to move from cessation to a return to competitive football from July 18th applies to Adult Amateur and Underage football under the jurisdiction of the FAI and will apply to all players, coaches, match officials, club officials, volunteers, parents and guardians.

Work on Safer Return to Football protocols for Football For All and Futsal affiliates is underway and details will be announced in due course.

Under the new Safer Return to Football pathway, the FAI has approved the following measures:

  • Adult Amateur and Underage football can return to full contact training, including training games between teams from the same club, from June 29th
  • Adult Amateur and Underage football can return to playing friendly games from July 11th
  • Adult Amateur and Underage football can return to playing competitive matches from July 18th
  • All Adult Amateur and Underage Leagues operating a Winter season, who have had applications to extend their 2019-2020 season approved, can resume League fixtures from July 18th and must have all competitions completed by September 14th
  • All other Adult Amateur and Underage Leagues operating a Winter Season can commence their 2020/21 season from July 18th  
  • All Adult Amateur and Underage Leagues operating a Summer Season can resume/commence from July 18th and must have all competitions completed by November 30th

Welcoming the announcement of the new Safer Return to Football Pathway, FAI Interim CEO Gary Owens said: “Today’s decision allows all our players and stakeholders to look forward to a full and safe return to competitive football by July 20th. I know how much that will mean to so many across the country.

“Our game has been in lockdown since early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic so this is great news for all concerned. We must, at this point, thank all those frontline workers who have made so many sacrifices to allow us, as a society, to get back to a point where we can plan for a Safer Return to Football and for the return of live sport to all our lives.

“The Football community, together with so many of our FAI staff, have also worked so hard to get us ready for this return and I want to thank all those who have made today’s announcement possible. I also want to thank the Government and all their agencies for their support for Irish football in what has been a very challenging time for everyone.

“We will remain fully committed to all Government guidelines regarding COVID-19 but today offers real hope to Irish football at all levels of the game and I look forward to seeing all our players back on the field of play.”

FAI Medical Director Dr. Alan Byrne thanked the clubs and players who have already followed the FAI’s Safer Return to Training Protocol in Phases One and Two of the Government’s Roadmap.

“The effort and work necessary to get players back on the training pitch as we continue the battle against COVID-19 has been so demanding for everyone,” said Dr. Byrne.

“All our clubs, from the biggest senior teams to the smallest underage clubs across the country, deserve so much credit for getting us to this point. Our aim is to make football as safe as it can be for all concerned within our game. We are very close now to getting back on the pitch and playing matches again and I urge all involved to follow the Protocol for a Safer Return to Football, which we will issue next week, as we complete this journey together.”

Club announce Covid-19 Compliance Officers – 18/6/20

Today we have announced that Paul Cleary, Stephen Curran and Marian McCabe will be our Covid-19 Compliance Officers (CCOs).

We ask everyone involved with the club to give them your full support and co-operation as we set out our plan for a safe return to football.

FAI Safer Return To Training – 8/6/20

The Football Association of Ireland has today launched a Safer Return to Training Protocol document for all adult amateur and underage football, including underage National League clubs, ahead of a return to training from Monday, June 15th.

A Safer Return to Training document has also been produced for SSE Airtricity League and Women’s National League clubs who will return next Monday, with the exception of Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Bohemian FC and Derry City all of whom are currently part of a pilot programme and have just resumed collective training.

The primary aim of the Protocol is to support clubs affiliated with the FAI in protecting the health and safety of the players, coaches and essential personnel within the clubs as they return to the training ground. Department of Health guidelines and Public Health Policy will be followed at all times. A match officials’ protocol document is also being prepared. 

Today’s Protocol publication provides a thorough and comprehensive step-by-step explanation to the Pathway that permits all adult amateur and underage football, including underage National League clubs, to return to training on or after next Monday, June 15th. All clubs must appoint a COVID-19 Compliance Officer and carry out a risk assessment before any return is authorised.

Subject to Government guidelines, no matches – competitive or friendly – are allowed until further notice under the jurisdiction of the FAI.

Further specific information will be available to clubs and groups within Football For All through the FAI’s Football for All Department.

The FAI Safer Return to Training Protocol and supporting documents are available to download at fai.ie/domestic/news/fai-safer-return-to-training

FAI welcomes new Government measures on return for Irish sport – 5/6/20

The Football Association of Ireland welcomes the new measures announced by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin today, as we continue to work on a safer return for all football under the jurisdiction of the FAI, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These guidelines will come into effect on Monday, June 8th, and will have a positive impact on the plans for the SSE Airtricity League, the Women’s National League, adult amateur and underage football and all other affiliates.

• The FAI welcomes the green light from Government for our four European qualified SSE Airtricity League teams – Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and Bohemian FC – to resume collective training on Monday, June 8th
• The FAI are working on a return to training protocol for the other SSE Airtricity League clubs and Women’s National League clubs, based on the new Government guidelines for group training for sports teams involving up to 15 people
• The FAI’s Steering Group are meeting on Saturday morning to draw up protocols for the return to training for adult amateur and underage football under the new Government guidelines and will issue its recommendations as soon as feasible
• To facilitate this vital planning process, and to support clubs with time to put in place the necessary health and safety protocols, no resumption of training under the new Government guidelines is permitted before Monday, June 15th, other than for the four European qualified clubs from the SSE Airtricity League
• The FAI’s Steering Group will examine how these new Government guidelines affect all affiliates
• The FAI welcomes expressions of interest for registration for our INTERSPORTS Elverys Summer Soccer Schools at bit.ly/20faisss
• The FAI’s Steering Group will now review the cessation of football directive which currently runs until July 20th

Welcoming the Government announcements, FAI Interim CEO Gary Owens said: “The new measures announced today by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin, are most welcome and positive for football and for all sport in Ireland.

“We thank the Taoiseach, the Ministers and all the staff at the various Government agencies who have worked so hard to get us to this point. Those agencies have offered us great assistance as we move towards a safer return for football for all our players, coaches, match officials, administrators and club volunteers.

“We still have a long road to travel in the battle against COVID-19 but sport has a huge rule to play in Ireland’s recovery and these new guidelines will help get us back on the playing field as soon as it is safe for all our stakeholders.

“We again thank all those working on the frontline for their dedication in the fight against COVID-19 and for their contribution in getting us to a point where we can plan for live sport again.”

DDSL Update – 18-05-2020

Firstly can we start by putting on the record our admiration and appreciation of the tremendous work being done by all our members on the front line, across all the daily services, ensuring our safety and some sense of normality in challenging times.To all the clubs who have done trojan work in raising funds for a variety of different charities, excellent work. Sadly in excess of 1500 people have passed away due to the virus and if your club has been touched by this can we offer our sympathy and condolences to all concerned.

Over the past weekend the HSE and FAI have issued a roadmap for our sport. The tremendous and thankless work being done by Dr Alan Byrne and his team is to be acknowledged and appreciated. However it should be noted that the DDSL is not the Bundesliga, where private clinics are on standby twice a week to test players, or is it akin to the professional arm of the FAI where the players will be cocooned, tested and play behind closed doors. (It should be noted we wish the mini tournament every success). No we are the Dublin & District Schoolboys/Girls League whose mantra is to try and ensure players, referees, fixture secretaries, administrators, managers, coaches, colleagues, neighbours, the man and his dog enjoy the game to the best of everyone’s ability in a reasonably safe and comfortable environment. Our stage is in the main council and public parks across the length and breadth of Dublin, into Wicklow, Meath, Kildare and as far afield as our colleagues in Athlone and Drogheda.(​The Real Grassroots).

We must be realistic, it is really hard to see how, as long as social distancing is remains in place, we can resume. However we must be both optimistic and pragmatic. Be assured that the health, care and welfare of players and volunteer constituents are always paramount and our priority. With that in mind the League has decided on the following.

The League season 2019/2020 will cease from Monday 18th May.

Road Map to the opening of 2020/2021 DDSL Season.

The return to training on 20th July is a resumption under strict protocols. They will be finalised by the HSE/FAI medical teams and will be issued to all our clubs.

It will possibly be training in very small groups, maybe only 5, no contact, distancing rules apply, however guidelines with these details will be issued to everyone before that date. This will not be standard training as we once knew it.

Resumption to collective training on 10th August will be for the entire team to train together. Again, there will be advice issued around this to help Leagues and Clubs with what is expected.

Normal full squad training cannot resume until 10th August.

Our tentative return date to commence the new 2020/2021 season is the weekend of September 12th 2020 for all age groups under our jurisdiction.

Dates re registration and team formations will be advised in due course and will naturally be subject to HSE and NPHET guidelines. Prior to the tentative recommencement date, the League administrators will be working with all the bodies to ensure a safe return to football when appropriate and will liaise with clubs when applicable.

***(All dates are subject to direction from HSE and NPHET)***

These are unprecedented times we are living in and so we ask all clubs to adhere to the guidelines set out by the HSE and FAI.Please remember everybody’s safety is paramount despite our longing to return. We will keep you updated as soon as information becomes available.

FAI Statement – 15/05/2020

The Football Association of Ireland is committed to a return to football for all players, staff, match officials, administrators, volunteers and supporters as soon as it is safe and possible under the guidance of the HSE, the Department of Health, Sport Ireland, NHPET and UEFA.

The FAI remains in communication with all Government agencies regarding protocols around a pathway for a safe return to football in the SSE Airtricity League, Women’s National League, adult amateur and underage football, incorporating all affiliates.

The health and safety of all stakeholders is at the core of all FAI decisions in relation to a safer return to football and remains subject to change on the advice of Government agencies, UEFA and the FAI Medical Team, led by Medical Director Dr Alan Byrne.

Dr Byrne has been appointed by Sport Ireland to the Medical Advisory Group, established to review the various sporting protocols for a return to action. Dr Byrne’s priority as a member of the Medical Advisory Group is to provide a pathway for a return to action for all strands of football that is acceptable to all Government agencies and regarded as safe for all participants. 

“The only certainty around a return to football during this COVID-19 pandemic is the uncertainty,” said Dr Byrne. “As Medical Director of the Football Association of Ireland, I must look at any planned return to football from a medical viewpoint, with the health and safety of everyone concerned to the forefront in any decision making.

“My advice to clubs is not to return to training when we enter Phase One of the Government Roadmap on Monday, May 18, not to open their grounds and pitches, even to groups of four, and not to consider collective training or playing football until the medical evidence suggests otherwise.

“Decisive actions by our clubs now, will improve the chances of a safer return to football for everyone. We must take small and deliberate steps before we can allow all football to return. My recommendation to the FAI is to begin with a pilot programme on June 8 for the four SSE Airtricity League teams who have qualified for European football. This will allow us to analyse every step of their journey back to football, beginning with a safe return to training.

“The information we will gather from that pilot programme will be invaluable for all players, at all levels of the game, as we look to establish a safer pathway to a return for all football, one that can be approved by all Government agencies and UEFA. We all want football back in our lives but it is not worth risking one life by rushing to get our game back.” 

DIRECTIVES TO FACILITATE A SAFER RETURN FOR ALL FOOTBALL

The Football Association of Ireland has made the following decisions:

SSE AIRTRICITY LEAGUE

  • The cessation of all football under the jurisdiction of the FAI is extended to July 20th with the exception of SSE Airtricity League clubs and UEFA Women’s Champion’s League representatives, Peamount United.
  • All clubs are advised not to facilitate any organized training, including in groups of up to four, under Phase One of the Government’s Roadmap For Reopening Society and Business.
  • Four SSE Airtricity League clubs – Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and Bohemians – will be invited to return to training initially followed by a return to playing, in a behind closed doors tournament, as part of a pilot programme for a return to football for everyone.
  • Players and staff from the four invited SSE Airtricity League clubs will undergo regular COVID-19 testing from May 26.
  • The four invited SSE Airtricity League clubs can return to collective training on June 8th.
  • These four clubs will participate in a four-team tournament at a neutral venue, ahead of their European Club competition games in late July/ early August.
  • The four-team tournament will provide all stakeholders with an opportunity to learn in the current environment from these games, thus providing a safer template for SSE Airtricity League, International games and all football going forward.
  • All other SSE Airtricity League squads can return to collective training on June 29th under Phase Three of the Government’s Roadmap For Reopening Society and Business, with players and staff undergoing regular COVID-19 testing.
  • The FAI Medical Team will provide a detailed and transparent analysis of the testing results to stakeholders, Government agencies and UEFA on an ongoing basis.

​WOMEN’S NATIONAL LEAGUE, ADULT AMATEUR, UNDERAGE AND ALL OTHER AFFILIATED FOOTBALL

  • All clubs are advised not to facilitate any organized training, including in groups of up to four, under Phase One of the Government’s Roadmap For Reopening Society and Business.
  • The FAI Steering Group will monitor the pilot programme for the four invited SSE Airtricity League clubs, to be launched on June 8th, and will use all information gathered in the preparation of a protocol document for a return for all adult amateur and underage football.
  • The cessation of all football activities under the jurisdiction of the FAI is extended to July 20th for all affiliates, with the exception of SSE Airtricity League clubs and UEFA Women’s Champions League representatives, Peamount United.
  • A decision on Peamount United’s return to training will be made once dates are known for the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
  • Under Phase Four of the Government’s Roadmap For Reopening Society and Business, all adult amateur and underage clubs can begin their return to training programmes from July 20, subject to FAI protocols to be agreed with Government agencies.
  • Under Phase Five of the Government’s Roadmap For Reopening Society and Business, all adult amateur and underage clubs can return to full collective training from August 10.
  • All adult amateur and underage clubs can return to playing from August 28.
  • A pilot tournament for the Women’s National League, including Peamount United, will be launched once dates are known for the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
  • A pilot programme for adult amateur and underage football will be launched on August 14 and run until August 28.
  • Regional, provincial and national competitions in season 2019/20 can return from August 28 with FAI approval.
  • Winter Leagues wishing to complete their 2019/20 season will be given the option of applying to the FAI, via their affiliates, for an extension to their season until October 11.
  • Applications from Winter Leagues looking to complete the 2019/20 season must be made to the FAI by June 15 with details to be forwarded to affiliates from the Steering Group by May 22.
  • Winter Leagues not wishing to complete their 2019/20 season can start their new 2020/21 season on October 16. 2020 Summer Leagues can return on August 28 and will be provided with support to create a shortened schedule to run up to December 13.
  • All decisions around a return to collective training and playing for all adult amateur and underage football, will be based on the health and safety of all players, coaches, match officials, administrators and club volunteers.
  • All decisions will be subject to change on the advice of Government agencies, UEFA and the FAI Medical Team, led by Medical Director Dr Alan Byrne.

FAI Statement – 13/05/2020

The Football Association of Ireland’s Steering Group has highlighted three key areas around return to play protocols for the amateur adult and underage game, which have been submitted to Government officials.

The FAI Steering Group met again on Monday to discuss the conditions necessary to facilitate a safe and timely return for all amateur adult and underage players, match officials and volunteers.

The latest meeting followed further consultation with stakeholders in the wake of the publication of the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FAI now awaits a response from Government as it seeks guidance on the following issues:

  • A clear policy to manage all risks for volunteers around a return to play and to ensure a safe environment for all participants
     
  • Clarity on the effects of social distancing on contact sport as per the phases outlined in the Government’s Roadmap
     
  • Guidance on the infrastructural costs for amateur adult and underage clubs around safe return to play protocols

Steering Group Facilitator Ger McDermott said: “We await a response from Government, having submitted a series of key questions to Sport Ireland around a safe return to play for everyone involved in amateur adult and underage football.

“We again advise all affiliates to postpone any decisions on a return to training or football until the Government responds. The Steering Group will then meet to consider the outcome of that response.

“Only then can we issue clear guidelines to our clubs, leagues and all affiliates on a safe return to training and playing. We thank them all for their patience to date and for continuing to abide by HSE guidelines.”