Saturday 22 September 2018

Gavin defends FAI decision to give crisis club Bray a licence

League of Ireland chief Fran Gavin
League of Ireland chief Fran Gavin

John Fallon

League of Ireland chief Fran Gavin last night defended the FAI's licensing process but couldn't confirm when overdue wages at Bray Wanderers would be settled.

Players and staff at the stricken Seagulls - marooned at the foot of the Premier Division table - have not been paid their wages for June and club chairman Gerry Mulvey admitted last week that salaries couldn't be guaranteed for the rest of the season.

While five players have exercised their right to cancel their contracts and depart the Carlisle Grounds, the remainder have voted "overwhelmingly" to down tools for the scheduled meeting with Cork City on July 27.

The squad, in a statement released yesterday through the Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland (PFAI), assured supporters that strike action was their last resort.

They were balloted for industrial action on Thursday night, with the seven days' notice required under legislation due to be served on the club next Tuesday.

It means that, although the players will be available to manager Martin Russell for next Friday's game against Bohemians, fulfilling the following week's fixture against Cork is a non-runner.

In a stinging statement, the players took full aim at the FAI for ignoring what they claim were "obvious signposts erected during last season's uncertainty" in awarding them a licence to participate in this year's Premier Division.

Treatment

Long-serving defender Hugh Douglas, a local, highlighted the seriousness of the issue by revealing he was forced to pay out of his own pocket for essential medical treatment on a knee injury which has him on crutches.

"I have stuck with Bray through thick and thin over the past number of seasons but when I needed them the most, they let me down," said the towering centre-back.

In a six-minute in-house FAI interview, Gavin stressed the plight of players having wages delayed is unacceptable. But he stopped short of providing a date as to when the June pay-roll, due over a fortnight ago, would be forthcoming.

Irish Independent

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