Rovers to take part in pilot programme

By Hayden Moore

SHAMROCK Rovers are set to play in a four-team tournament that is to serve as a pilot scheme for a safe return to football from the postponement of games caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Teams set to be involved in European competition, Rovers, Dundalk, Derry and Bohemian, have been advised to undergo COVID-19 testing from May 26 to get ready for the restoration of games.

Rovers return Jack Byrne compressor

Jack Byrne is a key player in the Rovers squad

The four SSE Airtricity League clubs will be able to recommence collective training on June 8, which will be followed by a return to games in a behind closed doors tournament as part of the pilot programme for a return to football for everyone.

Taking place at a neutral venue, the four-team tournament will serve as an opportunity for those involved in the games to learn how to conduct games in the current environment – creating a safer template of sorts.

The four-team tournament will take place ahead of the teams entering into their UEFA Champions League and Europa League fixtures in late July/early August.

On June 29, under phase three of the government’s roadmap for re-opening Ireland post crises, all other SSE Airtricity League squads can return to collective training, with staff and players undergoing testing.  

Medical Director of the Football Association of Ireland, Dr Alan Byrne, also recommended that no clubs at any level restart training, even in groups of four, under phase three of the government’s roadmap on May 18.

Depending on when qualifying dates for the UEFA Women’s Champions League have been set, Peamount United Women’s senior team will also be allowed to resume training early.

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