Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Players’ union says Derry City exodus is inevitable

The Players Professional Football Association of Ireland says they do not anticipate any current Derry City player to be at the club next season.

PFAI solicitor Stuart Gilhooley said that he expected Derry to release every single player and the association would seek to force them to take that course of action should they refuse.

“I would be very surprised if any of those players are playing for Derry City next year,” he said.

“I would think the majority of the players will want to move on. I can’t think why any of them would want to stay at Derry. Many of them are out of contact and will seek new clubs now.

“Those that are under contract will hopefully be released by Derry because there’s no reason for them to hang onto them at this stage as they haven’t paid them in six weeks. If there is a difficulty with that we will set up a dispute resolution committee within the FAI to have them released as free agents.”

Mr Gilhooley said the players had been worried that they were being blamed for the situation which saw the club expelled from the League of Ireland and the resignation of four board members including chairman Pat McDaid.

“The PFAI has been as much in the dark about this as anyone else and it was only on Tuesday when we spoke to the players that the truth came out,” he added. “So we told them that the only way forward was to say exactly what had happened. And we felt that having done that there would be no recriminations against them.

“The players’ biggest issue is they felt they were being hung out to dry for something which quite simply wasn’t their doing.

“They felt as though they were being victimised. The players were told they were signing registration forms and that is what used to happen. You would sign your contract and then get a separate registration form which would be blank and you would sign it and think no more of it.

“That procedure had changed in the last couple of years with the players’ standard contract.

“But the majority of these players have been at Derry for most of their careers. They were not made aware of changes and that is the fault of the club’s board.”

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