The crisis at Bray Wanderers has escalated with the club’s players confirming on Friday, through the PFAI, that they are preparing to take strike action.
They will serve the required seven-day notice to their employers early next week which means that Bray’s home game with League of Ireland Champions Cork City on July 27th is a major doubt.
The players, who have not been paid since May 25th, said in a statement released by the PFAI: “this decision was one of the hardest of our professional careers and reached with the heaviest of hearts. This is very much a last resort action but we feel we have been left with no choice.”
Their strike action will not kick in until after their trip to Dalymount Park next week to take on Bohemians.
The players “hoped that we could resolve the unsatisfactory payment situation at the club, but despite weeks of negotiations by the PFA Ireland on our behalf, these efforts have proven fruitless.”
They have taken this action as there is “no prospect of payment of these arrears or realistic proposals for future wages in sight. We are all players who rely on our weekly wage to pay our bills, mortgages and every day living expenses.”
The players noted that over last number of weeks when they haven’t been paid “players who required operations due to injuries were forced to pay for their own operations, as the club was unable to pay for same. Issues around rehab and physiotherapy for players have also been an issue.”
Hugh Douglas is one of those players affected. He said on Twitter: “having to seek my own medical treatment for my knee injury such as surgery and physiotherapy has been extremely stressful period combined with no income for the past seven week.
“It has been a horrible and disgraceful situation for myself and the rest of the squad to be in.”
There was also heavy criticism from the player for this situation arising following well documented issues at Bray last year.
“We have now lost all trust in the club to respect our contracts. We had hoped, in vain, that the FAI would attempt to resolve the problems but, in spite of the obvious signposts erected during last season's uncertainty, the FAI and their licensing department have failed to address a very obvious red flag and do not appear to have any plan to resolve this crisis.”
A number of Bray players have already left the club including Rónán Coughlan, who has signed for Cork City (see here), but who may now have to wait to play against his former club due to the impending strike.
Aaron Greene joined Shamrock Rovers and played in the Europa League qualifier against AIK on Thursday evening, while Bohs-bound Daniel Kelly will be part of the Gypsies' squad for their home game against Sligo Rovers on Friday.
Bray player Conor Kenna said on Twitter, regarding their strike action: “with all the positive news around the league with clubs doing some great work It pains us to do this but something has to be done as unnecessary duress has been put on players and their families.”
The players statement concluded: “to the Bray Wanderers supporters, our fellow League of Ireland players and clubs, and to the wider League of Ireland community we sincerely hope that you understand that we have been left with no other option than to take this action.”
On a night when players fight for creditability for our league on a European stage players at Bray fight to be paid. They have gone without wages since May 25th. Not good enough time for change. pic.twitter.com/kqzT1QTAsm— PFA Ireland (@PFAIOfficial) 12 July 2018