PFAI hit out at FAI over ‘mind-boggling’ fund proposal

Union expected to provide 50 per cent of €300,000 wage fund despite no consultation

The PFAI have reacted angrily after the FAI announced they were expected to contribute 50 per cent of a €300,000 fund to help struggling League of Ireland clubs pay their wages – without consulting the players’ union first.

The FAI revealed details of the fund on Wednesday, with the likes of Limerick FC and Bray Wanderers having had difficulties playing players in recent weeks.

However, the PFAI later said they were, “astounded” after the FAI made the announcement despite having had no discussions on the issue with the union.

The PFAI said it was "mind-boggling" they should be expected to stump up half of the €300,000 – pointing to the fact that the overall fund is less than half of the annual salary of FAI chief executive John Delaney.

The PFAI statement read: “The PFA Ireland (PFAI) has this evening [Wednesday] been made aware of a proposal by the FAI to provide a fund to assist players in contractual difficulty. The PFAI welcomes the concept of this fund and believes it will assist greatly in alleviating the sort of issues that have bedevilled the league in the last few weeks.

“However, we are astounded that the FAI have seen fit to announce a proposal which involves the players’ association funding half of it without having any discussion on the issue beforehand. The PFAI have been seeking a meeting with John Delaney for over a year now to discuss matters of importance to the domestic game but he has refused to meet with us. We have had no meeting of any substance with any senior member of FAI management since the women’s international team dispute in April 2017.

“Furthermore, Siptu have had no discussions with the FAI about this proposal. At the FAI’s request, a meeting was scheduled for today with Fran Gavin [FAI direcor of competitions] and Rea Walshe [FAI corporate affairs director] to discuss improving the relationship between both associations and to discuss the recent issues related to players salaries and potential solutions to ensure these issues do not arise again. This meeting was cancelled by the FAI for reasons unknown and rescheduled for this Friday.

“The idea that we would match the contribution of the FAI, an organisation with a multi-million euro turnover, when our organisation has a tiny fraction of its size and turnover, is mind-boggling. The total fund proposed is less than the annual salary of the chief executive of the FAI thus making it deeply insulting that players, all of whom earn a tiny percentage of his income, should be expected to contribute to a fund to pay their own wages. Equally we wonder why the clubs themselves would not contribute to it.

“In summary, we welcome the proposal of the fund but object greatly to the manner of the announcement and the idea that the players should contribute to a fund to pay their own wages. We will meet with the FAI on Friday and making our position on funding very clear to them.”