Tuesday 19 November 2019

Bray issues could not have been predicted, insists Fran Gavin

Fran Gavin Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Fran Gavin Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

League of Ireland chief Fran Gavin says that the situation at Bray Wanderers remains 'delicate' and insisted that the association could not have predicted the club's difficulties.

The Seagulls are still in the process of trying to convince both their players and the FAI that they have the funds in place to get them through the rest of 2017.

Bray hit the rocks after primary investor Gerry Mulvey withdrew his financial support, although he has still taken over as interim chairman after Denis O'Connor - the club's public face in the past month - opted to resign.

He had suggested that funds had been sourced to get the club through this rocky period and worried players have heard some positive bulletins. But they have yet to receive the guarantees they want about forthcoming wage payments and the FAI have said further talks are set for next week.

They granted Bray a licence at the start of the year based on Mulvey's backing and Gavin said the turn of events at the club came as a surprise to the authorities even though questions had been raised about Bray's recruitment drive.

"Licensing is one of the best things that happened in the league in the last few years in that it's starting to get stability," said Gavin. "We do work with the clubs around their budgets.

"We look for assurances and we got the assurances. But, sometimes, unforeseeable things do happen in any industry. It's a very delicate situation at the moment.

"Unfortunately, something out of the blue can happen. We try to ensure that there is as little room for error and mistakes as possible."

With the local transfer window closing on July 31, players are worried they will be stuck at Bray if the well runs dry. "We'll deal with those matters if they arise," said Gavin.

He was speaking ahead of today's AGM in Kilkenny which is expected to be the usual show of strength from the top table. However, he did address some talking points that are likely to be discussed privately.

He said that a statement from Athlone last week lashing the Abbotstown investigation into irregular betting patterns was 'disappointing'. Four people from the club are awaiting a hearing on August 3 with the Midlanders' hierarchy miffed.

Meanwhile, Gavin refused to confirm that St Kevin's Boys will be allowed to compete in the 2018 version of the national U15 league after their inclusion in the truncated 2017 version caused uproar with other schoolboy clubs furious as they had formed partnerships with League of Ireland clubs on the understanding no schoolboy club would compete alone.

The FAI said they allowed St Kevin's in on the basis they keep talking with Bohemians. "Everything will be reviewed at the end of the season," he said.

As part of AGM week, the FAI Cup first round draw took place yesterday with two stand-out ties. Dundalk host Derry City with holders Cork travelling to Bray with all ties to be settled on the night.

Irish Independent

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