The FAI is being asked to explain a dramatic redrawing of the Under-14 League of Ireland campaign without consultation with the clubs, as the Premier Clubs Alliance gets set for an emergency meeting on Friday.

Coverage of the FAI's board meeting on Monday night was dominated by reference to Stephen Kenny's future as senior Ireland manager, but League of Ireland academy figures were shocked after an out-of-the-blue change to the underage structure was voted in.

In order to accommodate the long-running Kennedy Cup competition next June, the FAI's board voted to delay the start of the U14 national league campaign until next July, the season having ended on 6 November.

The campaign was due to begin in March, with many clubs having already picked their squads. The U15, U17 and U19 leagues are set to commence in late February or early March and the U17 and U19 women's leagues will start in early March.

The heads of the League Of Ireland clubs' academies have been meeting on Zoom to discuss what to do and to produce a united response to what has been described as "shameful football politics" by one head of a club academy.

Meanwhile, Shane Robinson, Shamrock Rovers Academy Director, told RTÉ Sport that the decision "flies in the face of the FAI's own development plans".

He said: "To say that this is the best pathway for our country's players to develop is nothing short of disgraceful."

Robinson was speaking from Finland, where a Shamrock Rovers squad of players born in 2009 have recorded some brilliant results against bigger European clubs.

He added: "The people who made this decision should be ashamed. We are aware that this decision was not supported by many people within the FAI.

"Those within the FAI who are against this need us all to come together - this decision needs to be reversed.

"Ultimately, it is kids who are the ones who lose out. These people have got away with no discussions and very little media engagement.

"We were all led to believe that this was the start of something new, with honesty and transparency the key words being thrown about by the FAI board on various platforms."

Several clubs have finalised their trials for their 2022 U14 squads ahead of the League of Ireland season, with training generally scheduled to begin in January.

One academy coach said: "The Kennedy Cup is great for the kids but the best players are no longer in it.

"They're calling off five months of the season for four or five days of football."

Many League of Ireland coaches who were contacted noted that the move had come just after the departure of Ruud Dokter as FAI high performance director.

Dokter recently left the FAI after eight years in the role. The Dutchman was appointed in 2013, taking over from Wim Koevermans. The introduction of the elite national leagues at U13, U15, U17 and U19 levels was also part of the plan.

In order to limit the number of youngsters lost between the age brackets, the U13 league was changed to an U14 league this year, with Galway United beating Shamrock Rovers in the league decider in Athlone.

The academy system is not universally popular, with some involved in the Schoolboys Football Association of Ireland (SFAI) opposed to the new structure.

The FAI has been contacted for comment.