Shamrock Rovers have expressed their disappointment at the decision taken by the board of the FAI to proceed with a shortened National Under-14 League competition from 2022.

The redrawing of the Under-14 League, now set to start in July instead of March to accommodate the long-running Kennedy Cup competition next June, has already met with opposition, with Shane Robinson, Shamrock Rovers Academy Director, telling 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.

"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."

Now, Shamrock Rovers have called on Roy Barrett, as Independent Chair of the FAI, to explain fully the reason why the Under-14s should play a different calendar to all other National League competitions and why are they being denied the opportunity to maximise their talent by playing a full season of football.

The statement added: "The scheduling of U14/15/17/19 competitions was agreed on by the NLEC (National League Executive Committee) as far back as August 2021. All clubs have subsequently assembled their squads in readiness for the start date of March 2022 as per other seasons.

"Player registrations were signed from December 1st - in the same week as this decision was made within an FAI Boardroom meeting and handed down without any consultation.

"This decision affects the players - children aged 13/14 are being obstructed in developing their talent by a completely random, ill-thought-out decision made by the FAI Board.

"We understand that that this decision was taken against the advice of senior FAI officials as well as National League clubs who, through the NLEC, adopted the schedule for 2022 underage last August by deciding to replicate the 2021 season with a full suite of U14, U15, U17 and U19 National competitions.

"It seems that the expertise, knowledge, and good faith of all these people/entities has been ignored by the FAI Board for reasons we simply cannot fathom."