Saturday 24 March 2018

Bohs boss slams FAI's 'ludicrous' scheduling

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

BOHEMIANS boss Aaron Callaghan believes the FAI are putting players' welfare at risk with the way the League of Ireland is scheduled around European games.

The Gypsies were held to a scoreless draw by Icelandic second division side Thor Akureyri in midweek and face a tough return leg on Thursday.

Before jetting out, they must first make the journey south to face Cork City in a league game tomorrow, a situation Callaghan has described as "ludicrous."

The club then face UCD tomorrow week, a match Callaghan says both sides had agreed to move back 24 hours in order to facilitate recuperation.

That request was turned down by the FAI, stating that it is against league rules to play any later than Sunday between European games. The clubs had the option of playing on June 26, but did not take it.

"It is a huge schedule," Callaghan said. "You're playing five games in two weeks and you're asking young kids who have never committed to playing that amount of matches in that short space... it is hard enough for experienced lads to do it.

"I am a little bit disappointed with the FAI's reaction to the timescales. We asked them to move the UCD game to a Monday and we got permission from UCD to do that to give us an extra 24 hours of recovery, but it was turned down.

"I just cannot understand why we cannot get an extra night's recovery. It just doesn't make any sense.

"To travel down to Cork in between two really important European games for this club -- not just for the players' development, but also for the club financially -- is absolutely ludicrous. I can't get my head around it."


Callaghan admitted that the financial incentive for Bohs was huge. Progression would be worth €100,000 in prize money -- the same as winning the league -- while a home gate against Czech side FK Mlada Boleslav would help boost the coffers at Dalymount.

"It is worth an extra €100,000 which is a huge investment for this club going forward and for us not to get the right protocols -- I'm gobsmacked," he said.

"Everybody knows the situation we're in. Everybody knows how tough we have had it in relation to budgets, etc. We have an opportunity -- and if we can beat them... "It is also a huge financial gain for this club and that can help us going forward."

Irish Independent

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