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PFAI warns of players' strike over insurance cover shortfall

THE PFAI have warned that League of Ireland players could go on strike next season if clubs do not improve their insurance cover.

The case of Waterford United's Gary Dunphy has highlighted a major flaw in the current system.

The 25-year-old needs surgery on both hips and is suffering from the sportsman's hernia known as 'Gilmore's Groin'.

However, his club's insurance policy does not cover 'wear and tear' injuries and, as a result, the five-year servant of the Blues faces the possibility of being without a club and with a large medical bill at the end of the season.

PFAI chief executive Stephen McGuinness explained the issue yesterday, saying that the FAI used to foot the bill for insurance, but this had stopped in recent seasons. And he urged the clubs and the association to get together and sort out the additional coverage or else players could refuse to play next season.

"With the feedback I've got from the whole committee, I've a feeling that, if it's not sorted, they won't go on the field next year," McGuinness said.

"The clubs now cover the insurance through a deal with AON. But they aren't looking after players (with wear-and-tear injuries) because they're under one year-contracts, even though they are obliged to.

"If there was an understanding between the association and our clubs that we could trust -- for the one time a year that a club might have an injury of this nature -- the club to look after it. The clubs, when it comes up, are just leaving the player sitting and it is just not good enough.

"If we had a trust and working relationship with the clubs, we'd say let it be, they'll deal with that one issue that comes up every year. But if they don't want to work with us, we'll have to force the issue and push it."

Game says farewell to Canaries legend Bond

FORMER manager John Bond has died at the age of 79.

Bond began his managerial career with Bournemouth and led them to promotion from the old fourth division at the end of his first season in charge.

However, it was at Norwich during the mid-1970s where Bond developed into one of the game's most colourful characters, taking the Canaries back up into the top flight and on to the 1975 League Cup final, which they lost to Aston Villa.

The former West Ham defender went on to manage at Manchester City, whom he guided to the 1981 FA Cup final against Tottenham, which they eventually lost in a replay, with Ricky Villa claiming a famous winner. He left City in February 1983 and enjoyed spells in charge of Burnley, Swansea, Birmingham and Shrewsbury.

Irish Independent