BRANDYWELL boss, Declan Devine, is furious with the Football Association of Ireland who, he claimed, had failed to honour an agreement after Derry City agreed to postpone their scheduled league fixture against St. Pat’s Athletic earlier this month.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
With St. Pat’s having drawn German club, Hannover, in the Europa League the Airtricity League game, originally scheduled for Friday, August 3rd, had been moved to Sunday, August 5th.
However, the F.A.I. then approached Derry seeking the “Candy Stripes” agreement to postpone the match in an effort to give St. Pat’s every chance to progress in the competition and, indeed, help the league’s co-efficiency ranking in Europe with St. Pat’s due to play the first leg of their game at Inchicore in midweek.
And Devine was adamant that the F.A.I. also agreed that Derry would not be forced to play the game if such a fixture would disadvantage the Brandywell club in any way.
However, Derry have now been informed that they must travel to Inchicore this Monday night to play the outstanding fixture despite the fact that the club must first travel to Dublin to face Shelbourne tonight - two trips over the space of four days.
And making matters even worse comes the news that St. Pat’s have a free weekend as they had been due to play Monaghan United!
Predictably, the Derry boss was far from happy. “We were approached by the F.A.I. and asked to agree to postpone our match against St. Pat’s at Richmond Park on Sunday, August 5th, in order to assist the Dublin club prior to their Europa League fixture against Hannover,” said Devine.
“Obviously, we sought an agreement whereby we would not be placed at a disadvantage when the game would eventually be played. We made it clear that back-to-back trips to Dublin have very tiring in the past, and the FAI agreed that the match would be played with both clubs in agreement.
“The FAI said it would be fair to us yet now we’ve received a communication that the match must be played this Monday or Tuesday night (September 3rd or 4th), despite the fact that we will be playing Shelbourne in Dublin on Friday night.
“We entertain Cork City next Friday night at the Brandywell, so I had to take that into consideration and had to opt to travel back to Dublin for a Monday night game, but what’s the rush?” asked Devine.
“But it’s interesting that I’ve since found out that St. Pat’s do not have a game this weekend as they had been due to play Monaghan United and, obviously, I’ve become a bit concerned at what’s happening to us.
“I’m very annoyed at this arrangement which has been forced on us without any real consultation. We’ve been told that next week is the only time the match can be played, but that goes totally against what we had agreed in the first place.
“With St. Pat’s not having a match this weekend, I believe they have been handed an unfair advantage given that we have to travel to Dublin twice over a period of four days. St. Pat’s and ourselves are competing for a top four finish in the league and I can only wonder what the reaction would have been had the FAI forced St. Pat’s to play two away games over a period of four days?” queried Devine.
“What’s the rush? The match should be played when it suits both clubs, even if that has to be at the tail end of the season. We agreed to do both the FAI and St. Pat’s a favour, yet we’re being unfairly treated.”
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