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PFAI General Secretary Stephen McGuinness.
PFAI General Secretary Stephen McGuinness.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

'It's hugely disrespectful, I'm disgusted' - FAI criticised after declining to attend PFAI awards

There has been ongoing tension between the FAI and the PFAI in recent times.
Oct 25th 2018, 3:00 PM 32,946 29

THE FAI HAS faced criticism from the PFAI after the Irish football association declined an invitation to attend the player union’s annual award ceremony, which will be held in Dublin on 10 November.

There has been ongoing tension between the FAI and PFAI in recent times.

The most recent dispute between the two organisations came in July when the FAI proposed a new €300,000 fund to assist League of Ireland clubs without informing the PFAI of their requirement to pay 50% towards it.

Earlier this week, the nominees for the League of Ireland’s PFAI Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year, First Division Player of the Year and both division’s Team of the Years were unveiled.

The awards night will take place at Dublin’s Marker Hotel in a fortnight’s time. It will also be broadcast live on eirSport, but no delegate from the FAI will be in attendance, according to Stephen McGuinness.

Speaking on LOI Weekly, the PFAI General Secretary said that his organisation had extended an invitation to the FAI to attend the banquet, but they were informed that none of the 11 FAI board members would be in a position to go.

“We’ve got word back from the FAI that there will be nobody in attendance,” McGuinness said.

When asked if their absence from the ceremony was unusual, he added: “It is, yeah. We’ve invited everybody from the board of the FAI. We got correspondence back that none of them were available.

The league office as well — there is nobody coming from the league office. I think it’s hugely disrespectful to the players, massively disrespectful.

“Aside from the issues they may have with the union, the players play week in, week out and deserve the respect of the people who run the game to turn up to an event like this.

Stephen McGuinness McGuinness said he was disappointed that no-one from the FAI would be in attendance at the award ceremony. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“I’ve absolutely no issue that people are busy and have schedules, I understand that. But to not have somebody to come and represent the FAI at the event is hugely disrespectful.”

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McGuinness and the PFAI work on behalf of all professional and semi-professional footballers in Ireland — prioritising player welfare and support in areas like wages and working conditions.

He said that the annual PFAI awards showcased the best footballing talent in Ireland, noting that many of the award winners on the night go on to play in England and represent Ireland on the international stage.

“We’re waiting on Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane to see whether they are going to be in attendance — they have attended in the past,” McGuinness said.

screen-shot-2017-11-19-at-12-30-06-390x285 Sean Maguire was named PFAI Player of the Year last year.

“It tends to be that the players who are nominated and who pick up awards on the night have found themselves in and around the international squad. Martin should be there and Roy should be there — that’s just my opinion — to show that you can play in this country and get in the senior international team.

“It’s vitally important that we have that and I’m hugely disappointed that we got that correspondence back from the FAI that nobody would be in attendance. I’m disgusted.”

When contacted by The42 on Thursday afternoon, the FAI said that they would be making no comment on the matter.

- Originally published at 1.42

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