Waterford FC captain, Cian Browne greets Drogheda United FC captain, Jake Hyland before the toss of last Saturday night’s heavy defeat at the RSC. The club have tonight confirmed that they have informed the FAI that they won’t be fulfilling next Saturday’s league tie at Sligo Rovers. Photo: Noel Browne.
The fallout from an alleged social event, attended by a number of the Waterford FC first team squad last week, continues to have serious implications for the club after they informed the FAI that they will not be fulfilling this Saturday’s game against Sligo Rovers.
After the club initially issued a statement on Friday last where they claimed “two players were deemed close contact to a confirmed Covid 19 case, but all players had return negative results,” Blues keeper Brian Murphy revealed on Saturday that this wasn’t the case as in fact one player had tested positive for the virus.
This has been since confirmed by Waterford FC Covid 19 officer Mark Dunne to this newspaper where he confirmed that there was nine close contacts with a testing regime coming back that one player had tested positive for Covid 19 from a further round of tests.
After the HSE and FAI advised the club that all first team players would have to isolate for ten days as a result, club chairman Lee Power is believed to have made the decision that the Under 19 team would represent the club in Saturday’s 7-0 defeat at the hands of Drogheda United instead of handing Drogheda a walkover.
‘UNABLE TO FULFIL FIXTURE’
A statement from the club this evening said, “Waterford FC have today informed the FAI that we are unable to fulfil our SSE Airtricity League Premier Division fixture with Sligo Rovers FC this coming Saturday evening due to the ongoing COVID-19 positive case.
“As per HSE guidelines, a further full round of tests on our first-team squad will take place this weekend before a return to full training on Monday, May 17th, based on results.”
With training cancelled on Wednesday last, the decision to hold a session on Thursday and a friendly match against the Under 19 that evening has seriously raised eyebrows to why this was allowed after the club were informed of a possible Covid 19 breach.
With the Under 19 squad forced to line out against Drogheda, it became clear shortly before the start of that game that the club were considering on forfeiting the game Sligo Rovers this weekend with caretaker boss Mike Geoghegan claiming that “everything was up in the air” for that fixture after Saturday’s game.
The decision to put a group of academy players on the field for the first time together since last December received a mixed response from Blues supporters, and after it became apparent that first team players would be unavailable for Saturday’s trip to the Showgrounds, a forfeit of the game was totally expected.
Well-placed sources within the club flanked up to this newspaper after Saturday’s game that it would be “highly unlikely” that they would fulfil this weekend’s fixture, and that the club weren’t willing to put the Under 19 in this position again after Saturday’s heavy defeat.
With the Blues sitting bottom of the Premier Division after ten games, and with the first-team squad not due out of their 10-day quarantine until after the weekend, the club have cut off any prospects of another heavy defeat for these young players with many of these set to complete their Leaving Certs next month.
Sligo Rovers will now be handed a 3-0 win by the FAI DCU when they meet next week, and whilst the Blues would have a right of appeal, all clubs were already informed by the FAI that all postponements Covid 19 related will not be entertained this season.