Northern Ireland football is in turmoil again today. Only this time the issue threatening the hierarchy of the game will be contested in court rather than on the pitch.
The Irish Football Association last night threw a veil of silence over a serious internal matter which has been brought about by its own chief executive.
Howard Wells — the man responsible for the day to day running of the association — is at war with his employers after taking a grievance case against the governing body.
Wells, who has been at the head of the association on an £80,000 a year salary since January 2005, is also demanding the payment of a £30,000 bonus which he says was agreed with former president Jim Boyce before he was voted out of office a year ago.
It is understood that Wells has claimed unfair treatment due to the fact that he is English and that current president Raymond Kennedy is one of those named in the complaint.
Relations between Wells and Kennedy - who are unable to comment on the case - have been strained for some time now.
Kennedy stated in a newspaper article a couple of months ago that he didn’t have 100 per cent confidence in Wells, although this was then denied at the IFA AGM a matter of weeks later.
Wells’ three-year contract came to an end last December and when a new deal wasn’t reached he became a permanent employee.
That means the IFA would have to hand Wells a pay-off if they want him to leave and it is believed that negotiations have taken place with regards to this matter, without agreement.
With the kick-off of the new IFA Premiership cancelled due to a referees strike the case brought by Wells is another situation that Windsor Avenue chiefs could do without, particularly ahead of tonight’s friendly against Scotland in Glasgow.
The case is due to be heard within the next ten days.