No return for Derry with same officials, says Delaney


SOCCER LEAGUE OF IRELAND: AFTER DERRY City’s protestations of bewildered innocence over the weekend, John Delaney was the one turning on the breathless exasperation yesterday when the FAI chief executive expressed astonishment at the line taken by club officials in the wake of Saturday’s expulsion from the league.

And he insisted the Brandywell outfit will not be readmitted as long as they remain in charge.

Reacting strongly to claims by City chairman Pat McDaid and club solicitor Dessie Doherty that the northerners were treated unfairly when they were expelled from the league, Delaney insisted that the association is happy to stand over its actions in court on the basis of the evidence in its possession.

He said, however, that the organisation is determined to uncover the full extent of the financial irregularities at the club.

He said any player who it suspects of having been involved in the dual contract system that the association says was operated at the Brandywell will not be allowed to register for another club, either here or abroad, unless they have either indicated their willingness to cooperate with the association’s investigation into the matter by noon on Thursday or are cleared of any involvement by that investigation.

Delaney was speaking after revealing some of the figures which, he says, were provided to the association by McDaid and another club official during a meeting at Abbotstown last week.

According to the documents, twenty-two players held illegal, second contracts, and the total difference between the amount due to them under their proper “standard player’s contracts” and the unofficial ones was some €337,000 over the course of the year.

Asked about the claims by City that the official contracts had simply had the effect of cancelling earlier, “temporary” deals, Delaney revealed that the association is in possession of at least one player’s bank statements which show that it was the unofficial deal that was being honoured in terms of payments being made.

“That is why Derry City’s contract to play in the league has been terminated,” he said. “Because (what they did is) unfair to the Brays and Galways and Droghedas who have gone about their business properly.”

He accused Doherty of attempting to distract attention from the main issues involved in the case by creating a “sideshow” and “smokescreen”, and he insisted that the association is confident that its actions will be upheld in a court of law if that is where the City board decides to take their fight.

“There is no problem going to court on this if Derry City want to, because the evidence is that Derry City were operating two contracts, which is unfair to the 21 clubs there were competing against.”

Asked about the club’s claim on the €60,000 prize money for finishing fourth in the league, he said: “They can forget about it. That’s not on, absolutely not on”.

The association, he said, stood by its offer to meet the club this week to discuss its re-admittance to the league at a lower level but, he insisted: “It can’t be the people who presided over this. How can we trust any official who was involved in this?”

McDaid could not be contacted for a comment yesterday while Doherty did not return a call made to his office.

Salthill to benefit from Kildare crisis

KILDARE COUNTY have informed the league that the club is not in a position to honour its commitments with regard to the First Division/A Championship promotion/relegation play-off. Their decision means that, pending the approval of the licensing department of the association, Salthill Devon will be promoted to the First Division for next season.

Two other play-offs go ahead this evening, with Bray Wanderers, who benefited from Derry’s expulsion by avoiding automatic relegation, travelling to United Park to take on Drogheda United, while Shelbourne welcome Sporting Fingal.

United have a full squad to choose from, with manager Alan Mathews expressing some relief that his side will be at home to Bray rather than having to travel to Galway as they would originally have had to do.

Wanderers, meanwhile, are again without Gary McCabe ad Derek Foran, both of whom missed the draw against league champions Bohemians on Friday night.

In the First Division match, cup finalists Fingal will be back to something approaching full strength after Liam Buckley rested a number of players for Saturday’s home defeat by Athlone, but Robbie Doyle will be suspended.

Shelbourne will be without Kevin Doherty, who still has a calf strain, with Richie Baker, Peter Hynes and Alan Keely all doubtful.