MONAGHAN UNITED’S SUDDEN abandonment of the Airtricity League has provoked a stern response from the Professional Footballer’s Association of Ireland.
In a statement released this afternoon, the representative body expressed “surprise and disappointment” at the decision, describing it as “extraordinary” that players remained unaware of their impending redundancy until the publication of this morning’s press release:
“No player we have spoken to was contacted by the club prior to the statement being released and many players first heard that they had lost their jobs through Twitter.
“We find it extraordinary that no attempt was made to reach a solution with the players either directly with them or through this association. Situations like this have arisen in the past and agreements have been reached in order to keep a team in the league.
“It is hugely disappointing that players and fans have seen a club withdraw from the league in these circumstances without an effort being made to explore all possibilities with the players.”
The organisation also responded to the club’s reassurance of its creditors, interpreting the move as a commitment to honour existing wage agreements and contracts:
“It is, however, a relief to hear that all creditors will be paid and we assume that players wages which are currently in arrears and the remainder of their contracts will be honoured. We look forward to hearing from the club with details of how these payments will be made.”
Monaghan United, who were scheduled to face Sligo in the forthcoming round of Airtricity League matches, have responded to us to refute the PFAI claim that players were not made aware of the situation. They say two player representatives along with manager, Roddy Collins, were informed and asked to pass the word to the playing staff.
The Football Association of Ireland has confirmed its receipt of Monaghan United’s petition of withdrawal from the Airtricity League.
The body insists that, while representatives of the club met with the National League Director in the past month, the scale of its financial difficulties was not discussed.
Fran Gavin, Director of the Airtricity League, said:
“We met with the officials of Monaghan United less than a month ago to get an update on where they were with their budget for the season. At that time there was absolutely no question of withdrawing from the league. Today’s announcement from Monaghan United is a surprise to us and is very disappointing.
“We have been assisting the club in recent weeks to try and help them source a main sponsor.”
The FAI will convene an emergency board meeting in Poland this afternoon to discuss the situation. It is understood that approximately €100,000 of a development loan recently recently extended the club is still outstanding.