A war of words between Mariners' executive vice-chairman Peter Storrie and PFA head of player relations Simon Colosimo erupted ahead of the Mariners’ clash against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park, with the players union accusing the club of “harassment” and breaching the terms of Reddy’s contract by forcing him to train alone, or with the club’s NYL team, while negotiations on a severance pay-out continue.
The union is also furious over the pursuit of phone logs from players, insisting it is not a voluntary procedure, as the club claims, with the Mainers hierarchy determined to uncloak the ‘mole’ who it believes has ‘’breached the integrity of the game.”
Colosimo branded the process as “ridiculous”, adding: “If my employer asked me for for my phone records I would feel that’s an invasion of my privacy.
“It’s another bullying tactic, just like with Liam Reddy, and it should not be going on. There are processes in place if they do want them and they need to adhere to them.”
But an unrepentant Storrie, insisted: "What has gone on is a very, very serious breach and all the players bar a handful have happily volunteered their records because they want to clear themselves and are at the same time disgusted that one of their own teammates would reveal such information.
“The PFA know how serious this is and it’s a matter that they simply cannot support. Nobody has been forced to do anything, they have been happy to do it."
Storrie intimated that the leaks, which were believed to centre around disseminating team information to a rival coach, may even have exceeded that level of espionage, adding: “It’s actually a little bit worse than that, but we can’t say exactly what it was.”
He even flagged possible legal action to recover records, declaring: “If we want to go down that path we will do so. It’s an option.”
Storrie also scoffed at Colosimo's’ claims that Reddy has been vilified by the club, despite the independent arbiter finding that Mariners had acted incorrectly in banning him for two weeks over alleged contract breaches.
“Their treatment of Liam is just not good enough, players being forced to train alone is not something we should be dealing with in this country," Colosimo said.
But Storrie countered: “It’s nonsense to say we are bullying him … it’s all above board and we have made it clear his future isn’t with the club and his contract will not be renewed. And we look to make a settlement.”
Storrie is adamant that no matter what, Reddy will not be integrated back into the squad and allowed to train with the team.
“He can train by all means, but not with the first team," he reiterated,
But Colosimo hit back: “Being forced to train alone was one of key claims in the new CBA agreement and then this happens.
“We went through the grievance procedure and it went in Liam's favour. If they no longer want him at the club he has a contract and they need to honour that in full (regarding a pay-out).
“What the Mariners are doing by ostracising him and moving him away from the group is simply a bullying tactic and I question the conduct of the club. The PFA and the players will not stand for that.”
Colosimo believes the ructions at the Mariners will only “deter players from going there” in the future.
Storrie would rather focus on the club’s attempt to re-engage with fans, with Walmsley to Skype supporters back in the Gosford before the kick-off against Victory tonight.
“Prior to home games, assistant coach John Hutchinson, myself and Tony also go to Central Coast Leagues Club and talk with fans and answer questions," he said.
“Tonight, Tony will be sitting the dugout talking with them about the team, nobody else is doing that in Australia."