FAI unveil new U17 league format

Sat, May 16 2015


The format for the inaugural U17 National League has been unveiled by the FAI.


22 clubs will compete the first season, including 19 SSE Airtricity League clubs (Galway United the only omission) as well as junior sides Salthill Devon, Mervue United and Monaghan United Cavan Football Partnership.


The addition of a nationwide U17 league is the latest step in the association's effort to establish elite underage soccer in the Republic of Ireland and will complement the Elite Talent Programme already in operation up to U16 level.


The league will be regionalised into three sections, roughly corresponding with the north, south and mid-section of the country, with Dublin clubs split across all three segments, as follows:


Section 1

Section 2

Section 3

Bray Wanderers

Shamrock Rovers

Derry City


St Patrick’s Athletic

Finn Harps

Cork City

Mervue United


Cobh Ramblers

Salthill Devon

Monaghan United Cavan FP


Athlone Town

Drogheda United

Waterford United

Longford Town


Wexford Youths

Sligo Rovers





As expected, the first season of U17 league will be truncated, like the U19 league, running from August to December, before both sync up with the senior calendar which will run from April to November in 2016.


Each team will play the other sides in their section home and away during the first, truncated, season, with the top two from each section plus the two best third-placed sides progressing to national quarter-finals.


FAI High Performance Director Ruud Dokter said: “This is an important improvement to the elite player pathway. With the reforms to the Emerging Talent Programme that came in last September catering for the U11 to U16 age groups, the SSE Airtricity U17 National League will give elite players a national platform to play, and develop in Ireland.


“Previously, we might have lost some elite players at this age group, if they didn’t progress into cross channel academy structures. The SSE Airtricity U17 National League will provide an appropriate pathway for these elite players to continue their development on the pathway, through the SSE Airtricity U19 League to a senior career in professional football.”


The FAI also announced a reduction in the domestic compensation payable by SSE Airtricity League clubs to schoolboy clubs. Whereas a club that trained a player before they turned professional was previously entitled to €500 for each season they trained a player after their 12th birthday, the new structure will be thus:


Season of player’s 12th birthday: €400

Season of player’s 13th birthday: €400

Season of player’s 14th birthday: €300

Season of player’s 15th birthday: €300

Season of player’s 16th birthday: €150

Season of player’s 17th birthday: €150

Season of player’s 18th birthday: €150

Season of player’s 19th birthday: €150

Season of player’s 20th birthday: €150

Season of player’s 21st birthday: €150

Season of player’s 22nd birthday: €150

Season of player’s 23rd birthday: €150


It has also been agreed between schoolboy and senior clubs that, if a player is transferred between Associations after turning professional, the training club will be entitled to up to 60% of the transfer fee as follows:


Player is transferred within 12 months of change of status: 60% of transfer fee

Player is transferred within 24 months of change of status: 45% of transfer fee

Player is transferred within 36 months of change of status: 20% of transfer fee

Player is transferred within 48 months of change of status: 10% of transfer fee


The new agreement has been ratified by the FAI Board of Management and FIFA.