Sport Soccer

Wednesday 21 February 2018

FAI loosen purse strings as Super Cup row resolved

Miguel Delaney

The FAI spent almost €8,000 to save face last night, as the player payment dispute which threatened to derail this weekend's Dublin Super Cup was finally resolved.

In the end, the Airtricity League squad did not threaten a boycott of the tournament -- due to kick off with their game against Manchester City on Saturday -- as an agreement with the FAI was reached quite quickly once both sides eventually met.

It is understood that an increased appearance fee of approximately €1,000 -- up from €650 -- as well as a total of six match tickets per player was enough to resolve the dispute.

The 22 League of Ireland representatives had been so perturbed by the paltry terms of their participation on coming together on Tuesday night that they mandated PFAI general secretary Stephen McGuinness to force the issue with the FAI. But once McGuinness made contact with Airtricity League director Fran Gavin, the issues were ironed out.

The Irish selection will still not be able to have a shower at the Aviva Stadium because, while there are four dressing rooms in the 50,000-seat arena, only two of them have showers. A third has been fitted with showers for Celtic at a cost of around €50,000.

However, this was not one of the players' major concerns -- they will still have to travel to the Wanderers pavilion after their games in contrast to Celtic, Inter Milan and Manchester City -- but, instead, the squad were demanding "respect" and "recognition".


One source among the players confirmed that they felt the FAI were "penny-pinching" and hoping to get the League of Ireland squad onto the pitch "for as little as possible" despite looking to earn huge amounts from the event.

Given the fact the players had often accepted reduced wages or even weeks without pay from the recent spate of club financial crises, they felt a little more acknowledgment than an after-tax fee of €292.50 was warranted. They also believed they deserved "recognition" for taking time off work and cancelling holidays to train for and play in the event.

The saga has caused controversy because it has come so close to Saturday's kick-off. But one source said that was unavoidable due to the fact the 22-man panel was finalised so late. And once the PFAI got Gavin to the table after the players had initially demanded FAI chief executive John Delaney -- who is on his way to Brazil for the World Cup qualifying draw -- terms were agreed without recourse to threatening a boycott.

Indeed, Airtricity League manager Damien Richardson had said earlier in the day at the competition's launch that he had been "guaranteed" the players would not withdraw, regardless of the outcome. Finally, a deal was concluded relatively easily.

Irish Independent

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