Saints' European pay row rumbles to eleventh hour
ST Patrick's Athletic and their players will resume negotiations over their bonus and compensation dispute this morning, with their Europa League clash against Karpaty Lviv still in the balance.
Manager Pete Mahon held a press conference at Richmond Park yesterday and said he believed the tie would go ahead, but added that Sunday's Airtricity League fixture with UCD was now under threat.
"I'm hoping it will be resolved shortly," he said. "I would be shocked if our players don't play tomorrow night, because I know them well enough. Sunday is a different kettle of fish altogether, I couldn't give any guarantees one way or the other."
Talks are believed to have progressed last night and a resolution appears in the offing, but any settlement needs to be sanctioned by club owner Garrett Kelleher, who is currently in the US.
A representative of the developer was due to contact him last night in an effort to get the affair sorted out in time for the third qualifying round second leg.
The players agreed a package of €7,500 with the club for their victory over Iceland's IBV, but were looking for €20,000 for each of the last two rounds that took them to Kazakhstan and the Ukraine, a figure at which the club initially baulked.
The timing of last night's meeting meant the short-staffed club were struggling to send a representative to attend as they also had to meet tonight's opponents at Dublin Airport as per UEFA protocols.
The Saints have earned €270,000 from their European run in prize money alone, but much of that total has been eaten up in travel costs.
They would lose that amount, face a fine, a potential European ban and have to pay Karpaty's costs if the players refuse to play tonight.