PFAI proposes tracking system to monitor players’ progress in Britain

Though chiefly responsible for footballers’ welfare in the League of Ireland, the PFAI has called for a detailed tracking system for Irish players in Britain.
PFAI proposes tracking system to monitor players’ progress in Britain

The domestic players’ union yesterday named Aidan Price as its manager for their winter training programme for out-of-contract players, which is under way.

The PFAI will bring a squad to Oslo in January to play in the FIFPro-organised tournament with hosts Norway, Finland, and Sweden to help players secure contracts for next season.

Also on the PFAI camp this winter are ex-Hibernian striker Cody Mulhall and defender Jack Tuite, who was released by Derby County.

PFAI general secretary Stephen McGuinness said it was only through the football grapevine, rather than design, that they knew about the players’ situations and offered them help.

“That’s one of the big issues we have in Ireland — there is nobody tracking players in England,“ said McGuinness of Irish players being released by overseas clubs. “Nobody is reporting, nobody is checking on how they are getting on. It’s sad, I think, that this is not looked at more by the federation. We would be willing to help out and support it where we can.

“The only reason that we have Cody Mulhall training with us is that I know him from underage football and saw that he went to Hibs with Pat Fenlon and then picked up an injury.

“Then, he was up at Shamrock Rovers where Tony McCarthy, our physio, made me aware of him.

“If you ask somebody in the FAI, ‘How many players do we have in England?’ The ones that are involved in the international teams, possibly. But outside of that, nobody knows.

“It’s a sad indictment of the game here, in my opinion, that we do not have that (information) at this stage.

“We are talking about elite footballers, the absolute elite are the ones who normally go away.

“But nobody seems to know what is going on with them. How long is their contract? Who is tracking them, and when they come back, who is making contact with them?

The players on the winter programme will train three days a week at Abbotstown with two games in the New Year before the FIFPro tournament begins on January 14.

(PFAI winter training camp squad):

Conor Earley, Anto Hewitt, Gavin Peers, Eric Foley, Paul Finnegan, Aaron Shanahan, Joe Gorman, Jack Tuite, Keith Ward, Tim Clancy, Sean Harding, Emeka Onwubiko, Jordan Keegan, Jamie McGlynn, Mark O’Connor, Cody Mulhall, Sean O’Connor, Evan Osam.

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