Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

14.44 19 Aug 2020


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Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley has called on the government to explain in more detail the latest Covid-19 restrictions to League of Ireland clubs.

Following recommendations from NPHET the government announced last night that all outdoor sporting events would have to go back behind closed doors and that team training would again be restricted to just groups of 15.

The news came less than three days before Rovers host Shelbourne in an all-Dublin Premier Division clash at Tallaght Stadium and Bradley feels the decision makers have failed to take into account how League of Ireland clubs have been strictly following protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.

"I was just disappointed with the blanket statement for everything. I'd love to know how and why they came to that decision to put out a statement that covers everything," Bradley told OTB Sports.

"I think the league has done everything right in terms of, every club you go to home or away, every training session - I'm sure it's the same everywhere - are doing things right in terms of temperature checks, in terms of surveys every morning, in terms of sanitisation.

"We got tested on Monday, we get tested again next week and I'm nearly sure in saying there's been no positive tests around the league. We haven't had any player with a positive test. So I think the league deserves credit for that. I think each and every player deserves credit for that. Each and every club deserves credit for that.

"So I was disappointed with the blanket statement that covered everything because I think everyone within the league is working extremely hard to make sure we do things right. I haven't seen evidence of any club not doing things right.

"Hopefully that can be cleared up but I just wouldn't think it's fair that the clubs are working so hard and the players are working so hard to do it right and then we have a statement that covers everything like that."

Last weekend, Shelbourne joined Finn Harps and Sligo Rovers in admitting 50 supporters into the ground for a top-flight game while strictly adhering to Covid-19 guidelines and staying within the then-maximum amount of 200 people allowed at an outdoor event.

There was hope within the league that the maximum permitted number may be increased which would have seen the likes of Rovers begin to admit a certain amount of season ticket holders into games but last night's announcement has scuppered those plans.

The GAA made a bold move in calling on the new Acting Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn "to present the empirical evidence which informed the requirement for the Association to curtail its activities" and Bradley was asked if he backed those calls.

"I'd love them to come and explain why they've come to the decision they have and how they have because if they came and seen the work that's been done here and at every club around the country, I'm sure that they'd been blown away because everyone really, really is making sure they're strict on protocols," he replied.

"Every time we play a game for the week leading up to it there's so many emails going back and forth between the clubs, we have protocols regarding testing, regarding temperature checks, regarding times of leaving dressing rooms, leaving tunnels and what entrances [we use].

"I know you can't control when the players leave your environment but it's been shown that the players are being responsible because we've had no positive tests, we've had no outbreaks. If there was an outbreak in one or two teams I could totally understand that but there's been nothing like that.

"I just think that each and every club has worked really, really hard and continues to do so. So I don't think that blanket statement should [apply] to the league."


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FAI League Of Ireland SSE Airtricity League Shamrock Rovers Shelbourne Stephen Bradley

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