London's ladies football team have asked the Ladies Football Association to review their decision not to include them in this year's All-Ireland Junior Ladies Football Championship.
The Exiles, who have reached the semi-finals four times in recent years, are not part of the competition due to concerns over travel due to the pandemic.
Pending COVID-19 developments, London's footballers and hurlers will compete in the All-Ireland Football and Christy Ring competitions respectively later this year, and London LGFA claim they've been left “standing in the shadows of their counterparts”.
"Like everyone involved in the LGFA, GAA and wider communities we have been left desolate with the effect of the global pandemic," the panel said in a statement to OTB Sports. "Nonetheless, the sport we have grown up with has thought us to be resilient and persevere, to live in hope and to continue striving for our goals - as such we have remained hopeful, training hard since the beginning of the year with our respective clubs and county in readiness for the eagerly anticipated Championship season.
"Understandably, to take a risk-based approach is paramount when planning the fixtures, but given there is a significant amount of time before the Championship starts and how much things can change in 4 months (as we have seen) - was the decision to remove us from the Championship not taken too soon? In the year of #20x20 and #SeriousSupport, where we have been pushing women in sport to the fore, is this not a step backward on the Associations behalf? - leaving us to stand in the shadows of our counterparts who as of yet will still travel for October fixtures.
"With Championship not due to commence for another 4 months was it not an abrupt decision to deny London Ladies participation so far in advance? London Men's Football and Hurling, as well as Warwickshire Hurling have all been given the benefit of time before being eliminated from their respective competitions.
Is this not a perfect opportunity for the Association to show solidarity with all of its comrades and ensure equal treatment between men and women in sport? Is it not a perfect opportunity to lessen the disparity and embrace 20x20 in 2020 for all it stands for?
We urge you to please, please reconsider the decision and allow for a set of Championship fixtures in which London Ladies participation is permitted while also keeping the current devised fixtures as a backup in the instance travel is not possible.
"Using this approach, alongside a cut-off point closer to Championship to re-evaluate circumstances would be of huge benefit to not only the competitiveness of the championship but also the mental and physical welfare of the players who have given years of their life to the Association. In the event that Government advice is unfavourable and travel is not permitted without issue, at least we can say we have stood together and provided a level playing field for our sport."