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Clarity needed on who will pay for coronavirus tests


Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth

Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth

Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth

League of Ireland players would have to continue social distancing in training with an exception permitted for the 90 minutes of matches in plans that have been discussed arising from talks between the FAI and HSE officials.

A four-team tournament at the Aviva Stadium involving European qualifiers Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and Bohemians has emerged as a possible experiment for a return to play in the summer.

But there remains a distinct lack of certainty about the viability of any behind-closed-doors proposals due to the continued absence of details of the financial package that is supposed to make it feasible.

The cost from a health perspective has been highlighted by a quote in excess of €50k to test every player and official in the Premier and First Divisions.

It is unclear where those funds would come from.

The FAI are waiting for the confirmation of support from FIFA and, while there remains an expectation that compensation will be forthcoming, the terms and conditions are yet to be brought to the table. It leaves a question mark over the continued attempts to plot a route back in 2020 - but Dundalk boss Vinny Perth has argued that it could set the game in the country back by a couple of decades if a season was lost.

"We have to be careful that we don't lose the hard work that has gone on over 20 years," he said.

The latest scenario pitched for a comeback involves the European qualifiers resuming first in a summer event.

The FAI say they have also asked for "clarity" from the Government on when amateur and underage football can be allowed to resume.

The focus for the Association this week has been to try and provide conditions for the return of the SSE Airtricity League, but there was no guidance on when the non-professional game could return.

"We have submitted a series of questions to Sport Ireland seeking clarity on the five phases of easing the COVID-19 restrictions, as outlined in the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business," FAI interim deputy CEO Niall Quinn said.