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Tuesday 15 October 2019

FAI chief Gavin is 'surprised' with Blues' cash crisis

Limerick midfielder Sean Russell
Limerick midfielder Sean Russell

Senior FAI official Fran Gavin says he's "surprised" that Limerick FC have been unable to pay wages and expenses to players this season even though the Blues also stopped paying wages last season.

And Gavin, FAI Competitions Director, claims that the case of Limerick player Sean Russell being left personally liable for a medical bill for an essential operation is not a matter for the FAI or its club licencing department but is "between the club, the player and the hospital".

Even though they have only five professional players on the books, Limerick have been unable to pay player wages this season while expenses due to their amateur players were also left unpaid, prompting intervention from the players' union, the PFAI.

Limerick midfielder Sean Russell last week told Newstalk that the club's failure to deal with medical bills from an operation left him liable for €4,500 and a GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the Dubliner.

Limerick, who had much-publicised financial problems last season, were awarded a licence for this season on February 10th.

However, by March they had run into more money problems but Gavin claims he was surprised by that as he was asked, repeatedly, if the Limerick issue has undermined the credibility of the FAI's club licencing system.

"I think it's very disappointing to hear what is happening in Limerick. I was in touch with the club, trying to sort the matter out, we're trying to retain senior football in Limerick," Gavin says.

"Limerick got a licence, they're part of the league and we deal with them. We want to maintain senior football in Limerick, they need to make sure what is happening at the moment cannot continue" added Gavin, who said that it's up to the club, not the FAI, to act over Russell's case.

"If the issue is not addressed, we'll have a look at the issue. It's up to the club, it's their responsibility to make sure the player is not out of pocket. The obligation is on the club, the player should not be out of pocket."

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