A war of words has erupted between the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and St Patrick's Athletic as a result of a statement released on Friday by the Dublin club in relation to the association’s proposed funding grant.
The Inchicore club rejected the FAI’s offer of €5,000, which was being awarded to clubs to help create a strategic plan, and said that the association had “utterly failed” the League of Ireland, before the FAI responded, expressing their “extreme disappointment” with St Patrick’s Athletic for releasing the statement.
In the St Pat’s statement, the club said that “the board of St Patrick's Athletic FC has decided that it will not accept the offer of €5,000 made by the FAI towards the expenses of each club in preparing a five-year plan.
"The board of SPAFC wants its decision to serve as a clear message to the FAI that it has utterly failed in its responsibility to the domestic game and to those clubs who, in spite of its indifference, have managed to keep some semblance of professionalism within football in Ireland.”
The FAI responded to the Saints’ statement by saying: “The Football Association of Ireland expressed its extreme disappointment with the decision by St Patrick's Athletic FC to reject a funding grant to assist with providing a future business plan for all SSE Airtricity League clubs.
“The decision by the club to refuse the payment, which will help to roadmap a financially strategic and deep-rooted community structure, is all the more astonishing given that St Patrick's Athletic were one of the clubs who agreed to the process, in the first place.
“Since the St Patrick's Athletic statement was released on Friday evening a host of leading clubs, including Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Cork City, Bohemian FC and Galway United - and many others, have come out to support a clear desire to continue to work in partnership with the FAI.
“Frank Kinsella, of St Patrick's Athletic, was one of the three club representatives, along with barrister Michael Cush, who represented the Premier Clubs Association (PCA) - who represent all League clubs - at a meeting with the FAI in Clonmel on August 27.
“At that meeting, it was agreed that a €100,000 grant programme for strategic business planning be put in place for all League clubs, and that a statement would be agreed and released, following ultimate approval by the PCA.
“The PCA, with Frank Kinsella, had welcomed the process where clubs would be assisted financially, in the drawing up of clear business plans for the next five years, which would give a clear pathway for the future of the League.
“At no point during this meeting did Frank Kinsella, as a representative of the PCA or St Patrick's Athletic, voice his disapproval to the plan, and was, in fact, enthusiastic about the process.
“The Association believes that St Patrick's Athletic's statement is extremely divisive and utterly dismissive towards smaller clubs.”
The Inchicore club have subsequently released another statement attempting to clarify their position and proceedings saying that the FAI has "attempted to undermine the statement issued by this football club by suggesting it was "extraordinary" that our General Manager had attended a meeting at which the Association's proposed grant to clubs was tabled and had not objected to it. There is nothing extraordinary about the actions of the club or its General Manager."
The FAI's Director of Competitions, Fran Gavin earlier said: "This is quite extraordinary given that the club's representative was one of the architects in agreeing the funding initiative in the first place.
"At no point did Frank Kinsella speak on behalf of himself or his club to voice concerns or otherwise with the funding grant. Nor did he declare that he didn't want to be part of this latest development in what is an ongoing process.
"This is extremely confusing and is quite frustrating that St Patrick's Athletic have decided that parts of this process, which their representative agreed to, is now not for them.
"Many leading clubs have been in touch with me and have announced that they are extremely engaged in what we are all doing together."