Paolo Di Canio is facing a battle with his own Sunderland players after they called in the Professional Footballers’ Association to query the fines he imposed upon them for breaking club rules.
Di Canio admitted last week that he had fined seven players for what he called unacceptable behaviour, which ranged from lateness, avoiding taking calls from the club doctor and missing signing sessions.
He then dropped Phil Bardsley and Matthew Kilgallon after they were both photographed in a casino celebrating after Wigan’s defeat at Arsenal on Tuesday, which guaranteed Sunderland’s Premier League survival. Bardsley was surrounded by £50 notes and Di Canio warned the pair he would never pick them for the club again.
However, at least two players have sought guidance from the PFA about whether they can be fined. “There are rules laid down and we would expect Sunderland to adhere to those the same as every other club,” said the PFA chairman, Gordon Taylor. “I don’t want to get into confrontation with them but the players can’t be treated just according to what Paolo thinks.
“There are rules and procedures that both he and the club need to adhere to. Yes, the players have come to us for representation. We are aware of the problem. The players did well for him when he came.”
Yet Di Canio has already spoken of his frustration at the PFA becoming involved. “Why do they need to speak?” he said. “They get fined. They are under a private club. The PFA don’t pay them, it’s a private club that pays them. They have to now try and understand because for our player we already received a phone call. It was a clear misconduct.”
Those Sunderland players who have sought the counsel of the PFA will be given guidance over whether they can continue with their appeal against the fines imposed. “There is a process,” added Taylor. “If the player has been fined and that is out of the regular code which is described by us and the Premier League, they have the right of appeal. There is a right procedure of doing things that is clearly laid down.”
Di Canio was yesterday criticised by Bardsley’s girlfriend, Tanya Robinson, who, in four tweets, which were later deleted from her account, said: “Can a footballer not have a night out with ALL of his team mates to celebrate not being relegated?? And can he not be happy that he just happened to win a lot of money in casino on same night?? Which by the way he giving to his charity!!
“Certain people need to stop being physco drama queens!!!!! It to his agent who runs his charity for him!!!! He was unaware sum! was taking pics but u live and learn! He’s not raped or killed any!”