Wednesday 13 December 2017

Bohs' licence bid delayed by bonus row

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

BOHEMIANS failed to submit an application for a League of Ireland Premier Division licence yesterday as the cash-strapped club remained in negotiations with players over unpaid bonuses.

The first deadline for the submission of licence applications passed last night, but having brought their wages up to date as of last Friday, the Gypsies hope to have their application ready today.

After meeting with the players on Monday night, the club released a statement stating that the club expected to "be in a position to submit its application for a licence to play in the Premier Division of the Airtricity League" yesterday.

However, despite bringing wages up to date they were still in discussions on bonuses and hoped to finalise their proposals with the PFAI today. They have kept the FAI aware of the situation.

The Phibsboro club last week reached agreement with the Revenue on an outstanding bill of €105,000 and are believed to be close to reaching a deal with up to a dozen players who will be released with redundancy packages.

That would almost clear the way for the 2008 and '09 champions to apply for the licence that would also secure their potentially lucrative participation in next season's Europa League, but first they must reach agreement on the thorny issue of bonuses.

Monday night's meeting was attended by four players, PFAI chief Stephen McGuinness, manager Pat Fenlon and members of the club board. Fenlon is believed to be interested in re-signing a number of the players released as part of the deal struck on Monday on part-time terms.

The clubs' fans raised more than €100,000 through a host of fundraising activities. The board also asked club members to contribute an extra €250 on top of their normal fee, with senior or student members asked for €100 each.

Fans were encouraged to buy next season's membership and season tickets early in order to get through the funding crisis. The club also approached businesses in an attempt to achieve outside investment and appealed to the membership for loans secured on Dalymount Park.

If the club are able to clear this licensing hurdle, it is just the first step in securing their financial future. The membership will convene for an Extraordinary General Meeting on December 13 to discuss getting through the winter, when Bohs need to raise a further €400,000 to operate a break-even budget next season.

The club have debts of €4m with Zurich Bank, the repayments for which begin in 2012.

Meanwhile, St Patrick's Athletic yesterday announced they have re-signed goalkeeper Gary Rogers and defender Conor Kenna for the 2011 season.

Irish Independent

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