Thursday 17 October 2019

'It is hugely disrespectful...I am disgusted' - FAI slammed for awards snub

Stephen McGuinness, General Secetary of the PFAI
Stephen McGuinness, General Secetary of the PFAI
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Stephen McGuinness has expressed his "disgust" after claiming the FAI will snub the Players Football Association of Ireland (PFAI) Player of the Year Awards.

Tensions between the two bodies have been high in recent times and, speaking on Independent.ie and eirSport's League of Ireland Weekly podcast, McGuinness claimed the PFAI received correspondence from the FAI with confirmation that none of their invites will be accepted for the awards banquet.

McGuinness announced the PFAI Team of the Year on the show before saying: "The only disappointing thing is, we recently got word back that there will be nobody in attendance from the FAI."

When asked it this was unusual, McGuinness replied: "It is, yeah. We have invited everybody from the board of the FAI. We got correspondence back that none of them were available. 

"And the League office, there is nobody coming from the League office. I think it's hugely disrespectful to the players, massively disrespectful. Aside from the issues they may have with the union, the players play week in, week out and deserve the respect of the people who run the game to turn up to an event like this.

"I have absolutely no issue that people are busy and have schedules. But to not have somebody to come and represent the FAI at the event is hugely disrespectful.

Listen to LOI Weekly here:

"We are waiting on Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane to see if they are going to be in attendance, and they have been in attendance in the past.

"Players who are nominated and pick up awards on the night have found themselves in and around the international squad. It shows the connection. There are more players than ever before who are going from the League and are in and around the international team.

"Martin should be there and Roy should be there, to show the players the respect from the senior international team...that you can play in this country and get in the senior international team and it is vitally important that we have that.

"I am hugely disappointed today that we got that correspondence back from the FAI. There is not one person available to come? I am disgusted."

Despite sharing the same Abbotstown building, there has been a tense stand off between the PFAI and the FAI, particularly since the Irish women's team threatened strike action 18 months.

And last July, the FAI opted to create an emergency fund of €300,000 accessible to League of Ireland players whose contracts aren't honoured by clubs after the high-profile fallout from the Bray and Limerick players' wages sagas.

The association had requested the PFAI to provide 50pc of the proposed funding, but the union claimed they hadn't been consulted and denounced the notion as insulting to their members.

McGuinness has now hinted that there will come a time where the players will not promote anything FAI related.

The FAI said it had no comment when contacted by Independent.ie.

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