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Dublin: 12°C Thursday 15 April 2021

Drogheda United did not consult players ahead of decision to stop wages

Club officials have apologised for how they handled the situation.

Drogheda United manager Tim Clancy.
Drogheda United manager Tim Clancy.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

DROGHEDA UNITED TOOK the decision to stop paying their players without any prior consultation with the squad or the Professional Footballers’ Association of Ireland.

With the League of Ireland season suspended until 29 March at the earliest due to the outbreak of Covid-19, club officials informed manager Tim Clancy and his players of their decision in a letter last night.

Drogheda chairman Conor Hoey explained his decision earlier today but PFAI general secretary Stephen McGuinness has confirmed that there was no attempt to discuss the matter with the players or their union before they were informed.

This has caused anger and confusion among the squad, and McGuinness has revealed how the club’s top brass apologised for how they handled the matter.

The PFAI chief accepted that the First Division club are in a “difficult position” but now fears other clubs in the second tier will follow their lead as the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic grips the country.

“I could not get my head around the decision not to have any discussion with the players or the union before they made their choice,” McGuinness said.

We had discussions with them today and they apologised for that, they said sorry for how they did it because they just went with it, really. The reality of it is, they have the money at the moment to be able to keep paying players through this.

“They’re just not willing to pay because they think the season is going to be extended so they want to cover themselves for that. It is a very difficult situation.

“I think Premier Division clubs will be alright until we get into April but other clubs in the First Division will look at this and I don’t doubt they will feel they have no choice.”

Drogheda chairman Hoey told The Sun: “We had to act. We’re laying people off elsewhere within the club and looking at making cutbacks as a result of this.

“The players will still earn what they were meant to earn over the course of the season. But if we pay them now, when they aren’t able to train or play, how are we going to pay them at the end of the season if it is extended to accommodate rearranged fixtures?

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“We haven’t – and couldn’t – budget for that.”

With the FAI council set to vote later tonight on the €50 million rescue package – one which involves support from the State, Uefa and the Bank of Ireland – McGuinness also stressed that he would examine the possibility of possibly having some of the funds already ringfenced for the League of Ireland to be released for clubs to help them through this crises.

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