Tuesday 20 November 2018

Players' body vows to get tough as Bray set for strike

Bray Wanderers manager Martin Russell. Photo: Sportsfile
Bray Wanderers manager Martin Russell. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

As Bray Wanderers boss Martin Russell resigned last night and strike action by the players moved closer, the squad's union vowed to adopt a similarly strong approach to future cases of League of Ireland clubs failing to pay their players.

Stephen McGuinness, secretary of the Players Football Association of Ireland (PFAI), confirmed there's no immediate sign of overdue salary payments from June being paid.

Moreover, following a 90-minute meeting with current owner Gerry Mulvey on Tuesday night, he feels it requires the swift arrival of a fresh investor to rescue the club from potential extinction as a League of Ireland entity.

Bray's players will fulfil tomorrow's Premier Division fixture against Bohemians but are on course to mount pickets at the Carlisle Grounds seven days later on the night they are due to face Cork City.

They haven't trained with the club since the latest financial problems surfaced a fortnight ago and were instead taken through a light workout by the PFAI's Ollie Cahill at Bluebell United's ground on Tuesday.

Limerick addressed their wages arrears this week but the players have also voted to reserve their right to strike should delays in further salary payments materialise.

Given the long history of cashflow problems affecting wage payments to players in the League of Ireland, McGuinness believes the hardened reaction of the two squads sends out a firm warning.

"Enough is enough and the players are now driving the agenda," he said on the LOI weekly podcast in association with eir and the Irish Independent.

"Players and we in the union tolerated certain conditions for too long are finally taking a stand.

Rumbling

"What other industry are employees allowed go seven weeks without wages or have to pay their own medical bills? Under the current FAI licensing system, if a club doesn't pay the wages in July, those players can be left waiting seven months until the following February. The licence will be granted once they pay up by then."

With the Bray situation rumbling on towards the transfer window closing on July 31, McGuinness insists the FAI must take urgent action.

"We requested a meeting with the FAI chief executive John Delaney yesterday because big decisions have to be made," he said.

"I don't see a chink of light from speaking to Gerry Mulvey, so it will take everybody, especially the FAI, to resolve it.

"We can't have a situation where the deadline expires and the players cannot join other clubs.

"Bray's problems need to be dealt with; look at how Limerick's situation seemed to be resolved after one meeting with FAI."

  • For the full interview with Stephen McGuinness, go to www.independent.ie/podcasts

Irish Independent

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