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FAI Junior Cup arbitration process is reschedule for Thursday, May 2

THE final pairing of this season’s New Balance FAI Junior Cup remains unclear….but the prestige final is still scheduled to proceed at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, May 11.

 That’s the plan!

While St Micheal’s of Tipperary have confirmed their place in the showpiece occasion they have been forced to patiently await the outcome of the opposite half of the draw which has been the subject of protest since the quarter-final when Sheriff YC protested the presence of a Regional United played who did not have a necessary International Transfer Clearance in place.

That initially triggered Sheriff YC’s complaint and the FAI Disciplinary Control Unit found in their favour which resulted in a reverse of the original 3-2 victory for Regional to a three-nil win for the AUL Premier A side. 

Regional United appealed that decision which subsequently has now gone to arbitration – all of which has drawn out the delay in the hosting of the semi-final – whether it is Sheriff YC v Aisling Annacotty in the AUL Complex or Regional United versus Aisling Annacotty in Jackman Park in Limerick, a date for either still in the balance. 

  While due process is ongoing, STRIKERONLINE can report that the arbitration process has now been pushed out another week after the Regional United delegation attending the process insisted that they be given sufficient time to digest the contents of the arbiters findings.

Regional’s legal argument was that in terms of a timeframe of discovery they they were entitled to more time and this has now seen the arbitration hearing pushed out until next Thursday, May 2. 

That leaves a tiny window to play the semi-final and prepare for the final proper and that’s without clubs’ entitlement to pursue the case further, should they be unhappy with the outcome. 

All of the legal technicalities included in the above, have however attracted the attentions of  FIFA and they are now keenly awaiting the judgement outcome as the ITC is an enshrined  FIFA statute and an overturning of the three-nil awarding of the game to Sheriff YC would have significant implications for the world governing body and all cases involving International Transfer Clearances.

The term ‘can of worms’ has often been referred to but we must recognise the absolute entitlement of all parties and also respect that the legal argument brought to bear will ensure a rigorous testing of the appropriate rules central to this particular investigation.

  All clubs with a vested interest have signed up to the time frame of ensuring the match goes ahead at the Aviva Stadium on May 11 (2pm), but, if the date was to be missed for any unanticipated reason, a new date may well be difficult to come up with and potentially threatens the hosting of the FAI Intermediate final which is scheduled to go ahead on the same day which will be contested by Crumlin United and Avondale United (5pm).

 Complicating the process is that St Micheal’s could well be involved in the Munster Junior Cup final which is down for May 18 while the following week will see the FAI Amateurs travel to Jersey for an international tournament on Thursday, May 23 with the Saints having four players already included in the squad before it is reduced to a travelling party. 

The FAI Junior Council is also looking to accommodate the FAI Interleague Oscar Traynor final between the Kilkenny League and the Limerick League with Kilkenny due to host and the final provisionally pencilled in for Sunday May 12.

The following week will see the Aviva Stadium host FAI Senior international European Championships game between the Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar on Monday June 10 which creates the possibility of an FAI Junior Cup final possibly being pushed out until late June.

Add in the fact that the UEFA Under 17 championships are being hosted here on the east coast region during this period and also factor in that many leagues would have booked  grounds for their own show piece domestic cup finals and you can appreciate the availability of venues is severely limited as are dates.

In all of the above, the players of all the clubs still involved have been somewhat sidelined and what potentially should be a career highlight has unfortunately become a path fraught with difficulty  with a guaranteed outcome of huge relief on one side and immense disappointment of the other.

Sadly, on this occasion, it’s already set in stone that there will be winners, but there will be losers too! 

By Eamon Scott

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