Sunday 15 December 2019

Improved relationships with FAI makes life 'a hell of a lot easier' as PFAI aim to secure contracts for out-of-work players

Players' union chief Stephen McGuinness
Players' union chief Stephen McGuinness
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The PFAI team of out of work professionals will send one player to Finland and travel for a game in England against Rochdale as part of efforts to secure contracts for individuals facing an uncertain future.

For the tenth successive year, the players union is running a training camp for players released by League of Ireland clubs that are currently seeking employment.

Recently retired Bohemians legend Derek Pender will take charge of the side this year with training beginning in Abbotstown last week.

Improved relations with the FAI has led to training facilities and other services being made available with PFAI chief Stephen McGuinness admitting that had saved the union somewhere in the region of €5,000.

Last year, they weren't allowed to use FAI pitches even though they share the same building in Abbotstown. "It makes life a hell of a lot easier," said McGuinness today.

Through a connection with Rochdale's Irish manager Brian Barry-Murphy, it has been confirmed that the free agents will take on an XI from the League One side with December 11 a provisional date.

Meanwhile, one player will be selected to try their luck in Finland where there is a concurrent training camp with one Finnish based free agent coming over here in that arrangement.

"They will train and play a game here. It's something we hope to build with Norway and Sweden as well," said McGuinness.

"We're looking at someone who has played full-time, is available to travel and wants to play abroad. There are a number of factors including quality of player, whether they have the time and if it's realistic that they would take a contract in Finland if it's offered."

Pender will be assisted by ex-Shamrock Rovers player Pat Flynn with current St Patrick's Athletic goalkeeper Brendan Clarke acting as goalkeeping coach.

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