Derry City came out fighting yesterday following their expulsion from senior football in the League of Ireland.
After a meeting at the Football Association of Ireland’s headquarters in Dublin on Saturday, the FAI said Derry had broken regulations by holding secondary, unofficial contracts with players and terminated their League of Ireland contract.
“What happened on Saturday was a travesty, an absolute witch-hunt and a complete annihilation,” said Derry City chairman Pat McDaid.
“Effectively at this point in time Derry City is out of senior football and it’s a real tragic situation, but it’s something we intend to take immediate steps to address.
“A lot of things happened on Saturday and we feel it’s only right that the people know what happened in Dublin.
“People are well aware of all the financial difficulties we are having — it has been a matter of record — but what happened on Saturday was above and beyond any course of justice or any element of fairness whatsoever.
“Our very existence is in question and, in fact, as we sit here now this town hasn’t got a senior football club in the League of Ireland.
“That’s what the board of the FAI has done to this football club — there is a serious agenda going on somewhere.
“At the end of the meeting on Saturday I put it very forcibly to the board of the FAI that if they are going to sleep in their beds at night then the least they can do is advance us the funds to pay some staff some money, but that was flatly rejected.
“It is something we have taken some very serious advice on from Des Doherty, the club’s solicitor.”
Following a meeting on Wednesday evening between the Brandywell board and the FAI, their chief executive John Delaney said: “We are concerned that Derry City is in a very grave situation.”
He went on: “Certain information has come to light and it’s a situation that must be addressed urgently.”
In light of these comments McDaid was still shocked at Saturday’s outcome at Abbotstown.
“At the November 4 meeting, the issues about dual contracts arose as part of a three-hour meeting,” said McDaid.
“They informed me that they had, what they called, a dual contract of this one player, they asked me was this the fact? I told them that they had it sitting in front of them, but I explained to them that the proper contract, which was lodged with the FAI, was the valid contract and that’s the most recent one.
“Obviously what happened on Saturday is bound to spark a huge debate, because effectively now we are out of football, so there is going to be people talking about Irish League, or the League of Ireland First Division or the A Championship and we don’t have the answers.
“The first thing I will say to you and the supporters is that we aren’t accepting Saturday’s decision, absolutely not under any circumstances.
“How draconian is it to walk into a room with 17 executioners, who don’t accuse you of anything, don’t allow you to question them.”
Mr Doherty insists that the club are still owed 60,000 euro prize money for finishing in fourth place in the Premier Division and that will be his first priority.
“I will be asking the FAI on Monday morning to please send us the money for finishing fourth. We were owed it since 9.45/10pm on Friday night; but if you won’t, I don’t have the time to enter into another spat with you so please then fore-freeze it until we get all this sorted out.
“So, if I don’t get it I will have to seek an injunction application to the court in Dublin or Belfast, to freeze that money until these issues are resolved.”
Meanwhile, the Setanta Cup match between Derry and St Patrick's Athletic, which was set to be televised live from Richmond Park tomorrow night, has been postponed pending further developments.