DUNDALK midfielder Chris Shields has admitted his frustration at the lack of football action in Ireland while the rest of Europe’s leagues have a set date to resume football.
here will be a move towards a return to football in Ireland on Monday when the squads and staff from the four clubs due to play in UEFA competition this summer (Bohemians, Derry City, Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers) will start testing for Covid-19, while under FAI guidelines those four clubs can resume training on June 8th, with the rest of the league to report back for training on June 29th.
But as leagues in nations like Germany and Estonia have already resumed, with the championships in the likes of Poland, Croatia and Hungary due to return in the coming days, it’s annoying for Shields to remain in cold storage.
“It’s frustrating,” Shields told Dundalkfc.com.
“You look and see leagues who are back and, no disrespect, but you’d say that our league is better than that league so how have they got their act together? They at least have a day to look forward to get back to training. The FAI have made their statement and they want to play it safe which is fair enough, but to see other countries in Europe with a start date and us with only this four-team tournament, it’s frustrating
“We’re looking at the countries we could be drawn against in the Champions League, I was looking at maps the other day and it looks like a lot of those leagues and countries have a plan for when to return. We don’t want to be playing catch-up or lagging behind anyone. You have to give yourself the best opportunity going into Europe, it’s massively important to us in Dundalk as a club and us as a group,” added Shields.
His focus is now on that mooted tournament, behind closed doors, between the four clubs due to play in Europe.
“I am that hungry to get back the four team tournament is another thing on the horizon to aim for,” he continued.
“I am sure all four clubs agree you need games in the legs before you go into Europe, it would make for a good competition going into Europe.
“When we got the dates from the Government, all our focus was to get to May 18th, at least you were in groups of four, you were socialising, seeing people, pinging a ball to someone. You had that in your hand and to have that taken away from you was frustrating.
“You see people in parks and golf courses in groups of four. I know the club have gone to great lengths to set up the safety precautions so how we can’t go in and train in a safe environment is beyond me.
“I am sure a lot of players want to go back, if it wasn’t safe no one would want to go back but we have been assured that it’s been set up safely. It’s a professional sport and now would be a great time.
“If we did get back we’d be the first sport back. We are sport-starved nation at the minute and I’m pretty sure a lot of people would be looking towards us. It would be great for the league to be back up and running but it has to be when it’s safe to do so,” added Shields.