Club issue response as Limerick squad second Premier Division side to vote for strike action

Tue, Jul 17 2018

Limerick players have become the second League of Ireland side to vote for strike action following a ballot on Tuesday evening.

The club have confirmed that the issue of outstanding money was resolved today but the squad pressed ahead with voting for strike action.

It follows the announcement last week that Bray Wanderers had unanimously voted for industrial action after going unpaid for seven week.s

The club was issued with a blanket ban on signing new players for the rest of the season on Monday night following repeated failure to pay money owed to players.

A statement was issued via the club on Tuesday alleging that they had requested a meeting with the players on Monday evening but “the players did not attend.”

Statement from Limerick FC:

Limerick FC wish to apologise to the players and staff at the club for the delay in payment of salaries that were due to be paid on Friday, July 6, 2018.

The issue was resolved today (Tuesday, July 17, 2018).

The club takes full responsibility for this matter and would like to make it clear that the club is solely responsible for the players’ contracts. There has been a lot of questioning of the FAI’s Club Licensing system throughout this period, but, again, the club are the holders of players’ contracts.

Before the 2018 season, the club submitted what was a prudent budget – through the Club Licensing process – as it budgeted for an income less than our actual income for the 2017 season. The budget produced showed a breakeven.

However, our gate receipts and match-night income has been well below the levels achieved over the last number of years. That has resulted in the club taking immediate action to reduce costs overall and the first opportunity to restructure the playing budget came in the July transfer window, where six professional players left the club by mutual agreement.

In May, the players’ wages were due on Friday, June 1. Bank transfers were made to a number of players on that day and the balance due to the remaining players was paid prior to their next training season on Monday, June 3. However, on the Monday, PFAI officials arrived to our training ground and requested that the club lodge the players’ salaries for the rest of the season into an escrow account guaranteeing players’ salaries up to October 2018. That request was deemed unreasonable, particularly given the history of Limerick FC in honouring all of its commitments to players.

The club have taken measures to cut costs over the last number of weeks to ensure we can fulfil our contracted obligations to staff and players. We will continue to monitor our projected income streams and should the need arise make more adjustments.

The club chairman met with some players on Friday last (July 13) and arising from that meeting it was agreed that he would meet the entire squad on Monday, July 16.

The club, as requested, did make efforts to meet the players on Monday morning (July 16), to try to resolve the issue, However the players did not attend meeting.

On the Monday evening, the club received communication from the PFAI that they had arranged a meeting with the players for Tuesday, July 17 to ballot them on strike action.

We are extremely disappointed by this action, particularly given that the PFAI have at no time requested a meeting with the club to discuss the situation nor try to find a resolution. The PFAI’s only course of action was to look for an escrow account for players’ salaries and then call for strike action. This was very disappointing and would only further reduce the club’s potential income and ultimately create more issues with payments to their members that remain employed by the club.

The action of the PFAI and the leadership by Mr McGuinness in their decision-making, during this time, has not being conducive to create a good working environment between players and management.

It should be noted that since 2009 there has been no occasion for the PFAI to contact Limerick FC regarding non-payment of players’ wages. In the last three seasons alone the club have honoured just over €1 million in players’ salaries and while doing so created on average 45 number jobs per annum in Limerick FC.

On Monday, July 16, the club attended a meeting with FAI officials and as a result, the following sanctions have been applied to the club.

– The club cannot sign any new players for the remainder of the season

– Bray Wanderers’ removal from the IRN-BRU Scottish Challenge Cup put Limerick FC next in line for the competition but the FAI have confirmed that Limerick FC will not be invited to participate in the competition

Limerick FC accepts the decisions of the FAI and will move forward to work with our players for the remainder of the 2018 season.