Treaty United have withdrawn from the SSE Airtricity Under-Age Leagues in 2020
THE interim Chairman of Treaty United Conn Murray has outlined this Friday the reason behind the club's dramatic withdrawal from the SSE Airtricity Under-Age Leagues for 2020.
In an exclusive interview with the Leader Sport, Conn Murray admitted that those involved in Treaty United were extremely disappointed by the turn of events which has seen pulling out of the SSE Airtricity U13, U15, U17 and U19 leagues before the start of the new season.
The FAI indicated last month that the then 'Limerick United', which later had a name change to 'Treaty United', had been accepted into the SSE Airtricity under-age leagues for 2020.
However, the retired CEO of Limerick City and County Council, Conn Murray confirmed that Treaty United would not now have teams competing in the four under-age national leagues.
Conn Murray told the Limerick Leader: "Persistent threats of legal action have been placed upon us for a number of weeks now and we therefore stepped out of the application process, Treaty United stepped back, advised the FAI earlier this week that we were stepping back until such time as decisions were made around the Limerick FC application for a licence for senior football and also for permission to operate an Academy.
"We did so because of the level of threat that we found ourselves under from a legal perspective. The absence of a decision has frustrated a lot of clubs, leagues, young people and parents.
"We got into this game for the sake of developing an appropriate and proper, sustainable Academy. We don't believe it is fair now in terms of those young people that have committed themselves to us and we apologise profusely over what has happened over the past number of weeks which has been totally and utterly outside our control.
"We are making it very clear that those young people who committed to us are now free to go back to their respective clubs and if some of them need help in terms of moving to alternative League of Ireland (clubs) we will provide whatever support and advice through our own professional coaches that is necessary."
Murray said that all those involved in the Treaty United project were extremely disappointed by what had happened.
"This is extremely disappointing to the people who have come together as a group in good faith, to the coaches who have given of their time, to the parents and the leagues and the young people who put themselves through trials and by the way, the quality of the players at under-age level is absolutely phenomenal. That is very important for Limerick going forward."
Limerick FC confirmed on Thursday night that the club is recruiting players in all age groups to compete in the upcoming SSE Airtricity League under-age season.
A tweet from the club's official account read, 'Limerick FC Academy now recruiting in all age groups for the upcoming 2020 Season.'
The tweet included a link where players interested in playing for the club can register their details.
Limerick FC indicated that unattached players are free to sign up with the club until February 22.
Asked why Treaty United had not opted to fight the legal threats which came their way, Conn Murray said: "At the very start we never wanted to create disputes. We only entered into this on the basis that it was freely available to apply and we did so on the basis that we wanted to sustain League of Ireland soccer.
"Now a court case did occur, people were allowed to re-apply and we respect that. Under threat of legal action, we stepped back and allowed that to happen.
"We are not in the business of splitting and fighting down in Limerick.
"This should be done for the proper reasons and for the benefit of soccer and we believe at this time if that is the decision of the FAI and if that is what Limerick FC wish to do, then they get on and they better do it properly."
Conn Murray added: "Unfortunately an error was made in the use of a name (Limerick United) that was back 10 years ago was registered, we simply weren't aware of it and that was when the legal challenges started and every step of the way we have been threatened with legal proceedings.
"Certainly that is not the way to operate soccer in Limerick. It is most disappointing to be honest.
"It is better for the purposes of football that a clear pitch is given, it is now there, and it is a matter now for the FAI and for Limerick FC to sort this problem out.
"Unfortunately the victims of this are the young people who are prepared to commit themselves to League of Ireland soccer and the clubs that are there are the parents who support them."
Meanwhile, it is hoped that Limerick will have a senior womens' side and U17 girls side competing in the National Leagues this year.
In 2019, Limerick Women's FC were ran by a separate committee in which all administrative and financial matters were governed solely by this committee.
Its understood the FAI are hugely in favour of maintaining a womens' club in Limerick to service the Mid-West region.
It is understood that representatives of the women's club are now in discussions with the all the relevant stakeholders to ensure this happens.
A further update is expected to follow immediately after the matter is resolved.