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Thursday 19 September 2019

Rodgers: It's time players had a voice on the FAI board

Plight of Limerick players a worry for PFAI

Dundalk goalkeeper and PFAI chairman Gary Rogers insists players, both male and female, should be represented on the FAI’s board
Dundalk goalkeeper and PFAI chairman Gary Rogers insists players, both male and female, should be represented on the FAI’s board

The plight of Limerick's players voting for strike action over unpaid wages and expenses, just weeks into the new season, only underlines the need for players to have a voice at board level with a new-look FAI.

That's the view of Gary Rogers, goalkeeper with reigning Premier Division champions Dundalk who is also chairman of the PFAI, the union which represents players.

And he insists that any representative of the players on the FAI board will demand a minimum standard from League of Ireland clubs which is not being met by the current club licencing sysytem.

Limerick have been doing well on the field of play, the Blues enjoying a four-game winning streak recently and are in touch in the promotion race.

But off the field things are grim. The Limerick players, angered by unpaid wages (for their five professional players) and expenses (for the rest of the squad who are classed as amateurs) yesterday balloted for strike action over outstanding wages and expenses.

A statement issued by the PFAI on behalf of the players said they were paying their own physio bills and "the players are also fearing what will happen to them if they sustain any serious injury and if the appropriate rehab/operation will be available to them".

As PFAI chairman Rogers, in action for Dundalk away to Cork City tonight, feels for his comrades at Limerick and feels that action is not only needed now but is also required in the form of a player presence on the FAI board.

"It's a very regrettable situation down in Limerick and not acceptable," says Rogers.

"Not only are players out of pocket for wages and expenses but to think that their medical bills, for injuries they picked up while representing the club, haven't been looked after is not the standard we have set in the league.

"I think this only strengthens the case for having player representation, for male and female players, on the FAI board. There has never been player representation on the board and with all that has gone on recently, there is an opportunity for change.

"We are one of the stakeholders in the game here, a lot of the decisions made at board level affect our members but we have never had a voice on being able to affect change.

"Now is the time for change and allow the players have their voices heard.

"Limerick got a licence and had problems three months later. Limerick this week is one issue that concerns us but it's not the only one, we'd have a view on things like fixtures, facilities in stadiums, a minumum wage for players."

Rogers feels that minimum standards be applied to clubs across the league, pointing out that one Premier Division ground does not have proper toilets in the away dressing room, and he's also eager for clubs to have a minimum number of professional players (at least one Premier team operates with amateurs).

"The product here is good but so much has to be done," he added.

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