Shelbourne hit St Pat’s carry
Shelbourne have denounced what they called an “unfair” decision to postpone Airtricity’s scheduled Premier Division match against St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night.
The match was called off after Saints were stranded in Bulgaria following their famous Europa Conference League win over CSKA Sofia on Thursday night.
The Dublin team have been unable to secure a charter plane home and the FAI have confirmed the Championship tie has been canceled as Tim Clancy’s side do not expect to be back in Ireland before Sunday morning.
“Following tonight’s confirmation from St Patrick’s Athletic that their side will not be returning to Ireland following their recent European game in Bulgaria until Sunday morning, it has been decided that the SSE Airtricity Premier Division game between Shelbourne and St Pat’s on Sunday after- noon, August 7, at Tolka Park will no longer take place as planned,” an FAI statement said Friday evening.
“The FAI will now review this matter internally and a further announcement will be made in due course regarding next steps.”
Shelbourne, however, hit the nail on the head in a statement released Saturday night.
“Shelbourne FC learned on Friday evening that Sunday’s game against St Pat’s had been canceled by the FAI due to St Pats’ inability to fulfill the game due to their travel plans,” it read.
“We note that the FAI will now review all the facts before them and determine next steps and will contact us accordingly to discuss further.
“We hope this review will recognize that the rescheduling would result in a further delay of matches for Shelbourne FC. As things stand, we have only had two home games in 3 months.
“Equally, it is incredibly unfair to our supporters, our volunteers and the Gardai to have Sunday’s game canceled at short notice, especially as that game had already been postponed to Friday.
“We share our supporters’ frustration at the inconvenience this has caused everyone at the club.”
St Pat’s upset the odds in Sofia thanks to Serge Atakayi’s late strike. Over 4,000 tickets have already been sold for Thursday’s second leg at Tallaght Stadium.
The Saints said in a statement on Saturday morning that under UEFA regulations they were required to hire their own aircraft rather than use commercial flights and had been unable to obtain passage from return.
“We appreciate the FAI’s understanding of the difficult situation we find ourselves in and their sensible decision to cancel tomorrow’s game.
“Under UEFA regulations, the use of charters is mandatory from the third qualifying round. Due to the current difficulties in the aviation industry, which are well known, we and our travel brokers have had to Immense difficulties in finding charters, the result of which left players and staff in Sofia and unable to return to Dublin until the early hours of Sunday morning.
“Throughout the week we have informed the FAI and UEFA of our difficult situation and have been grateful for their assistance. We understand that many fans would have been looking forward to the match, we regret that this match did not go through. not proceed as planned due to these unprecedented circumstances.”