Thursday, May 02, 2019

By John Foley

THE Carlow & District juvenile league have confirmed they will not be moving to summer soccer in 2020.

Speaking to The Nationalist on Monday, league chairman Peter Harvey said the local league has decided to defy the FAI’s wishes that all juvenile leagues move their fixtures to a one-calendar schedule, beginning in the spring and ending in autumn.

The move would have been seen as hugely unpopular at local level as it would have brought soccer into direct competition with the Gaelic games calendar.

However, Harvey says that was not the primary reason for Carlow’s decision to retain the status quo.

“A big issue for us was summer holidays,” he said. “You have to take the month of June off for exams and then kids head on holidays. Trying to get leagues finished would be a nightmare.”

He says the move would also have led to a concentration of players in larger clubs.

“Some of the smaller clubs would likely have folded if we had gone to summer soccer. Clubs in strong GAA areas would have players going back to GAA and the few kids who wanted to play soccer would have been transferring into bigger town clubs. The towns clubs would have probably got stronger and we don’t want that either.”

It is understood Carlow’s decision comes at a time when the two big Dublin leagues, the NDSL and the DDSL, are returning to the traditional calendar after experimenting with summer soccer for a few seasons.

“Two years ago a directive came from the FAI that all leagues had to change by 2020,” said Harvey. “The plan had been that we were going to run a short season from September to November this year and start proper next February. But we have now made the decision that we are not going to do that.

“The FAI won’t be very happy that leagues are going against them but at the end of the day we have to think about the leagues, our players and their clubs.”

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