herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Week of farce rumbles on

PFAI officers take charge of Bray training session as Limerick declare war on union

STATE OF PLAY: Bray Wanderers captain Conor Kenna leads out his team before his side’s last Premier Division match against Sligo Rovers at the Carlisle Grounds on July 8. The players trained last night for the first time in almost a fortnight. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
STATE OF PLAY: Bray Wanderers captain Conor Kenna leads out his team before his side’s last Premier Division match against Sligo Rovers at the Carlisle Grounds on July 8. The players trained last night for the first time in almost a fortnight. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

It would be funny if it wasn't all so painfully serious.

Bray Wanderers' players returned to training last night, their first time to train together as a group in almost a fortnight, but they are still not getting paid for the work they are doing.

And they didn't train under the watchful eye of their manager and coaching staff, but instead took part in a session led by two officers of their trade union.

The union, the PFAI, have been in contact with Bray's chairman Gerry Mulvey, but the outlook is bleak, very bleak, as the club admit they are no closer to sourcing the money needed not only to bring unpaid wages up to date, but to pay wages for the rest of the season.

War

The nightmare scenario for the league overall now is that Bray could follow the example of Monaghan United in 2012 and go out of business mid-season.

Meanwhile, 200km down the road in Limerick, the city's League of Ireland club effectively declared war on the same union which represents the Blues players.

The bad joke here is that as Bray have had their invitation to the Irn-Bru Cup competition in Scotland withdrawn as a punishment - a bizarre one - the next club in line to play in the competition was Limerick, but that clearly won't happen.

"The FAI have confirmed that Limerick FC will not be invited to participate in the competition," Limerick said in a statement last night, the latest missive in a week of statements.

So St Patrick's Athletic, who finished fifth from bottom last season, will now be entering the Irn-Bru Cup as the highest-ranked club outside of the top four which is not in financial crisis.

What a time to be alive for the League of Ireland.

The Bray squad plan to fulfil Friday's fixture away to Bohemians. After that? It's anyone's guess, but very likely that Friday week's home game with Cork City will not go ahead.

Limerick are clearly unhappy with the role played by the PFAI in all of this, the Blues board sticking the boot in to PFAI general secretary Stephen McGuinness, saying his actions have "not been conducive to create a good working environment between players and management".

Strike

So the club are upset, but yet another statement, issued by the PFAI on behalf of the Limerick players, made it clear that despite wages being brought up to date, the Blues squad will push for strike action if future payments are missed.

"We will now serve strike notice and if payments which fall due in the future are not honoured then we will have no option but to take the last resort option of going on strike," the players said.

"It is disappointing that it has taken this long for the club and FAI to engage properly with this crisis and we hope they will take this issue of late payment seriously from now on."

And at the other end of the country, there's another view of the ongoing farce as Derry City's outspoken manager Kenny Shiels has had his say on the issue.

Derry lost one of their three meetings with Bray this season and Shiels feels that clubs like his, who pay their players' wages on time, are at a disadvantage.

"They are paying big wages to certain players, I know they were and those players are scoring goals against you, it's annoying," he said.

"Last year they beat us three times, but they had quality players that they couldn't afford. Our club has worked really hard to pay our players, much less money than what Bray were paying theirs, so it gave them a distinct advantage," he added.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News