FAI are some shower
The FAI really has become adept at the ol’ Harakiri. Either that or it is the unluckiest association in the world, repeatedly tossed from one PR tornado to the next before being swept away by a tsunami of crud coming around the corner.
The latest mess takes some beating. Sure, League of Ireland players aren’t the ones who are going to draw a crowd to Lansdowne Road this weekend, but without them there is no Aviva Tournament – Dublin Super-Duper Cup,
Until common sense prevailed last night, the players were going to net about €300 for the two games they play and the extra training they put in during the week. When they are finished those two games, they won’t be able to have a shower in the stadium and will be removed to Wanderers RFC to shower there. Why not go the whole hog and hose them down out by the Dodder?
Showers were put in the Celtic dressing room in time for the tournament, but no such amendments were made for Damien Richardson’s men.
The players, to their credit, took the whole changing facilities issue on the chin and were merely making a point about what they saw as financially unfair treatment. They didn’t believe they should get a suitcase full of cash for the event and a boycott was never really on the cards, but a combined pre-tax paycheck of around €14,300 was insulting.
A Man City footballer would think twice about rescuing a kitten from a tree for €14k.
It has since been revised up to €1,000 each but only after the FAI was embarrassed into ceding ground. The players will also get six tickets for friends and family rather than the initial allocation of two.
The fact the association can treat its own domestic players like that just about sums up the FAI. They bleat on about exposure for the league and money for grassroots, but in reality, when it comes to their time to shine, they show their domestic players a complete lack of respect.
But it poses a far more pertinent question, that should not only be asked of the FAI, of course. Why on earth was a €400 million stadium, partially paid for by the taxpayer and built in the 21st century, equipped with two changing rooms without showers?
I was among one of the media tours of the stadium prior to its opening last summer. We were brought around one changing room but told there were four. I remember thinking, ‘this is swish but why can’t we see the others?’
I know now, because two of them weren’t changing rooms at all. Evidently, they were just rooms!