Sunday 25 August 2019

Limerick plan talks to avert strike action

 

Limerick owner Pat O’Sullivan. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Limerick owner Pat O’Sullivan. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Troubled Limerick FC have set up Monday talks with the PFAI and Siptu in an attempt to prevent a players strike.

Unhappy squad members have voted to take action if they suffer any more issues with payment and will serve Limerick with the requisite seven-day notice period this morning.

They voted unanimously to take the action at a meeting yesterday.

That followed informal discussions in the morning between owner Pat O'Sullivan and members of the squad. Limerick have just five professionals on the books with the rest of the squad on amateur terms.

They have experienced issues with the payment of wages and expenses and midfielder Seán Russell is in dispute with the club after being left to pay the bill for a €4,500 operation.

Limerick officials made moves last night to arrange a Monday meeting with union representatives.

The squad have been told they will not receive their April money until May 23. In a statement, they said they were "left with no other option" due to long-standing frustrations.

With a nod to the Russell situation, Limerick players said in their statement that they were worried about what might happen in the event of injury.

"There are still outstanding wages and expenses due to some players for March and currently the players are paying their own physio bills," read the statement.

"The players are also fearing what will happen to them if they sustain any serious injury and if the appropriate rehab/operation will be available to them."

Limerick owner O'Sullivan said on Wednesday that the club would be "fine".

He has been in talks with prospective investors across the past couple of seasons after admitting he needed support.

However, a local consortium pulled out in April due to problems at the club.

Another group - led by experienced League of Ireland manager Sean Connor - have spoken with O'Sullivan in recent weeks.

The Limerick situation is a headache for the FAI given that they successfully met licensing requirements in February but had payment problems early in the campaign.

Clubs have to submit budgets for approval to secure the green light.

Issues

Limerick had issues last year which were eventually resolved. O'Sullivan has been a vocal supporter of ex-CEO John Delaney during the recent crisis that has engulfed the association.

Meanwhile, former League of Ireland player Kieran Foley has confirmed that the Niall Quinn-led group which has designs on taking the domestic game in a new direction has made a submission to the FAI's Governance Review Group.

Quinn has put together a group of business people with designs to plot a new direction for the league by investing in academies in tandem with government backing for a full-time education programme to go with it.

Ex-Galway United, St Patrick's Athletic and Shamrock Rovers player Foley is a member of Quinn's team.

He has travelled extensively since finishing his football career, initially working with mobile phone provider Digicel.

Foley was involved with the establishment of the Caribbean Cricket League and has also worked with MLS clubs. He has also worked on projects with CONCACAF.

He is now interested in having a say in the future direction of Irish football and outlined his vision on the new LOI Weekly Podcast.

"There's no reason that we can't make something commercially viable in the league," said Foley.

"We have talented coaches here. Why do we assume you always have to be sent to foreign shores to be a better player or person or coach?"

Foley said Quinn's gathering consisted of people "with a commerical background, education, lawyers, financial people, who are passionate about the game and where it needed to be.

"We hear rhetoric and negativity about football across our country and it doesn't make sense," he continued.

"There needs to be a strong structure put together and I've been working with the group closely and we have a paper to go in to this reform committee and a hope and desire to give our input and influence on how to bring the football to the next level.

"Ireland is home to some of the biggest companies in this planet. How is it that we're not more commercially active with our football? Maybe it's because we haven't presented a strong enough plan."

For the full interview with Foley go to independent.ie/podcasts

Irish Independent

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