The Wellington Phoenix are placing all their faith in Australia's players association to resolve the Michael McGlinchey mess and remain confident of eventually landing their man.
McGlinchey continued training with the Phoenix on a chilly Wellington day yesterday, despite an independent arbitrator ruling on Thursday that he was contracted to the Central Coast Mariners.
The saga will continue to be dominated by lawyers, as the Phoenix now sit back and hope that Professional Footballers Australia can win an appeal against Football Federation Australia on behalf of their tortured client.
Phoenix general manager David Dome said the PFA would lodge an appeal by early next week but had no idea how long the hearing process would take.
The Mariners realise there is little to no chance of McGlinchey taking the field for them in 2014-15, with owner Mike Charlesworth saying the club just wants fair compensation for the All Whites midfielder.
''Every player has a value and we put a value on him which we believe is more than reasonable,'' Charlesworth told The World Game.
''To me it's a common-sense decision. All we wanted was adequate compensation for a very good contracted player. That has not been forthcoming so far. As far as we are concerned he is on the transfer list.
''I would say it's unlikely, but not impossible, that he will play for us again but we will listen to any reasonable offer. Our aim is to reach a financial agreement with Wellington and discussions are ongoing.''
But a disappointed Dome denied that being an option yesterday, even if McGlinchey and the PFA lost their appeal.
''It's quite clear there's no compensation due in this case, the arbitrator last night made that clear,'' Dome said.
''It's a guiding principle of the FFA that compensation between clubs is not given ... I don't want to speculate at this stage but it's something we haven't considered to date.''
Ernie Merrick has repeatedly blasted the FFA over its handling of the case, although the Phoenix coach bit his tongue yesterday.
The FFA, which has already had to apologise for prematurely announcing McGlinchey's signing with the Phoenix, issued a short release yesterday in which his name was mis-spelt.
McGlinchey had signed a deal to play for the Mariners through to 2014-15 but believed he became a free agent following the club's change of ownership last year.
While on loan in Japan, McGlinchey was offered a new contract which he never signed.
''The arbitrator is basing his decision on the fact that he was contracted to an old CCM company,'' Dome said.
''So until such time as that licence transfers to the new CCM company, then he is contracted to the old one ... I can't comment on which CCM company is actually going to have the licence to play in the A-League in 14-15.
''Given the legal advice we've received, we're still hopeful and very confident that Michael McGlinchey will be a Wellington Phoenix player in 14-15. We think we have the right hand. Michael's obviously disappointed but he's very pragmatic about it.''
The Phoenix are looking after McGlinchey financially.
McGlinchey is yet to speak but his manager, James Hardy, told FourFourTwo he was ''totally perplexed.''
''Michael and I cannot see any logic or sense behind the decision,'' Hardy said.
''I don't wish to get into a war of words but what I will say is the FFA should stop sitting on the fence and come out with some clarity. Michael has been let down by really poor governance and leadership by the FFA, which ultimately is putting players' welfare on the line through their negligence.''
- The Dominion Post
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