The FAI have this evening announced a proposal to try and avoid crises like those that have enveloped Bray Wanderers and Limerick over recent weeks. Both squads balloted for strike action over the failure of their respective squads to pay wages on time: the Bray situation has since been resolved, at least for now.
The FAI have tonight proposed the establishment of a €300,000 fund to "assist clubs struggling to assist SSE Airtricity League clubs who are experiencing difficulty in meeting contractual obligations to professional players". The putative fund would be funded equally between the FAI and the PFAI, with the former body stating that "The FAI have initiated this fund and have contacted the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland (PFAI), via SIPTU, on matching the amount that the FAI Board have approved".
Here's how the fund would work:
- A total of €300,000 (split equally between the FAI and the PFAI) would be placed into an escrow account to help professional players who are left unpaid by SSE Airtricity League clubs
- The fund can only be accessed by clubs participating in the SSE Airticity League if they are unable to fulfil contractual agreements with their players
- If an SSE Airtricity League club chooses to activate the fund then immediate sanctions will be imposed. The sanctions, to be agreed, will range from deducted points to an embargo on registering new players
- This fund can only be accessed as a last resort by clubs to resolve wages owed to professional players and clubs must repay, in full, all monies received by end of season or further sanctions will apply.
The statement ends by saying that "the FAI is now awaiting a response from the PFAI within the next few days".
There has been some tension between the FAI and the PFAI in recent weeks, with Fran Gavin saying that he was "personally disappointed with the way the PFAI acted", accusing them of creating a "media circus".
The PFAI's Stephen McGuinness responded by saying that this was a "blatant and juvenile attempt to deflect away from the FAI’s own mismanagement of the situation".
See Also: FAI Failed To Consult PFAI Over 'Mind-Boggling' Request For Funding