Limerick FC players say they've been left with no other option but to vote for strike action. They're responding to numerous instances of wages and expenses either being paid late or not at all.
A statement released via the PFAI claims the SSE Airtricity First Division club are to pay wages and expenses for April three-weeks late on May 23rd. They also say some players at the club have wages and expenses still outstanding from March, with players also paying their own physio bills.
One of those players is Sean Russell. He recently sat down with Off The Ball's Jamie Moore to outline the issues he's been having with medical expenses. Russell suffered a serious knee in a 2-0 victory over Athlone Town at Markets Field. The cruciate problem has ruled Russell out of action for the rest of the season.
Russell required surgery to rectify the issue, but the night before he was due to go under the knife, he was informed Limerick would not have the means to pay for the operation. Some club cheques (to the amount of €1,200) went towards the overall €5,700 fee, but Russell has been left with no post-op care and the remaining €4,500 outstanding.
EXCLUSIVE: “There is an outstanding fee of €4,500 which has unfortunately been billed to myself” - Dubliner @Russell__Sean has told @JamieMooreSport that @LimerickFCie have not paid for his serious knee operation in full, the hospital are now asking him to pay for it himself pic.twitter.com/Vt3l8Z0l17
— 98FM (@98FM) May 8, 2019
On this week's edition of Off The Ball's League of Ireland podcast, Russell gave Jamie an update on his situation.
"With regards to the actual club itself, I haven't received any information. A club representative sent a text message to say a solicitor's letter was on its way." Off The Ball has seen the text in question which simply read, ""Sean, good morning. There is a letter on its way to you from Limerick FC's solicitor. Regards."
He adds, "The expenses that I was owed for March had bounced on me in the meantime. I was given those in a cheque and they bounced. At the moment I'm still waiting to hear back on the plan going forward, in regards to the outstanding payments and the next surgery and starting a rehab programme." Russell says his Limerick teammates and management have been very supportive throughout the process.
Limerick chairman Pat O'Sullivan was offered the right to reply, but hasn't responded to those offers. It's nearly a fortnight since O'Sullivan revealed the club were in advanced negotiations about bringing new investment to the club. Former Galway United and Dundalk manager Sean Connor is heading up that investment group.
Issues over unpaid wages at Limerick stretch back more than a year, with strike action also threatened last season while the club were still in the Premier Division.