A small amateur soccer club in Co Clare has launched a stinging criticism of the Football Association of Ireland's procedures around facilitating the playing of football by Ukrainian refugees in Ireland.

The club claims there are no clear procedures in allowing refugees to participate.

The criticism comes after Sporting Ennistymon FC was fined and deducted points in the Clare County Divisional league for fielding a recently arrived Ukrainian refugee.

North Clare has become home to a large number of Ukrainian refugees since the outbreak of the war.

In March, one of those approached the club to seek the possibility of playing.

The club is based in the north Clare village of Ennistymon and has a membership of 140.

Following a league match last month in which Sporting Ennistymon FC fielded the Ukrainian player, the club was subsequently informed that they had not followed proper procedures in registering or transferring the player in question.

The club was fined and deducted four points from its league standing. But the club has strongly criticised the decision.

Club Secretary Eddie Crowe said that the club had acted in goodwill in allowing the player to play.

He claimed that there was a total absence in guidance or policy from the FAI on allowing refugees to play in this country.

"If you look at football associations in other countries, it's very simple and the policy and instructions are available on how to allow refugees to play soccer on the various websites," Mr Crowe said.

"We followed what we understood to be the correct procedure and we end up being penalised.

"We are all doing our best to make life a little easier for the refugees who have fled the war, but the policy on this issue from the FAI is simply not there.

"The FAI should get their own house in order before coming down to penalise a small amateur rural club in west Clare."

Chris O'Keeffe, a player with Sporting Ennistymon, said he knows the Ukrainian refugee and footballer well.

"He is devastated by the decision," Mr O'Keeffe said.

"He feels that it is his fault that the club has been fined and deducted points.

"It is very frustrating because we can’t really tell him that he is welcome here when he is being told something else by the organisation that runs the football league."

Sporting Ennistymon's Club Secretary Eddie Crowe called for simplification of the FAI's system

In a statement, the FAI said: "The FAI are satisfied that any changes made by FIFA relating to the registration of players was distilled to clubs through the correct channels.

"Given the complexity of issues arising from the war in Ukraine, the FAI are reviewing the registration process on a continual basis to ensure that any person who wishes to play football at any level in Ireland will be able to do so while ensuring that the integrity of our competitions is upheld.

"The player in question was registered on FAINet based on information that was provided by Sporting Ennistymon FC at the time of registration.

"The FAI acknowledges the efforts the Sporting Ennistymon FC and many other clubs have made in welcoming refugees to Ireland and we will continue to assist clubs with the registration of these players."

But Mr Crowe said that this whole episode had left a poor reflection on efforts to assimilate Ukrainian refugees into the football community in Clare.

He called for an immediate clarification and simplification of the system by the FAI so that refugees can seek some normality in life through the game.