Sunderland players go to PFA over Di Canio criticism and fine

A number of Sunderland players are in contact with the PFA over their next step after they were fined two weeks’ wages for indiscipline and publically criticised by manager Paolo Di Canio, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Seven of the Black Cats’ squad – including Phil Bardsley, pictured recently lying on the floor in a casino covered in £50 notes – have been in touch with the players’ union, with Bardsley said to be insistent that he had not broken any club rules during the team night out earlier in May.

Di Canio however reacted furiously, not only fining the players involved but launching into a damning tirade about their behaviour following Sunderland’s final game of the season, a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

The Italian has however been advised by PFA chief Gordon Taylor about his behaviour, having been party to several incidents in his previous post at Swindon Town. Taylor said: “He cannot be a law unto himself. We’re aware of player unrest at some comments made publicly, and other ¬situations. A number of players are involved.

We’re aware of Paolo Di Canio’s comments – it’s something we had to deal with [when the Italian was manager] at Swindon as well. Our rules for discipline are agreed with the Premier League and Football Association.

The Mirror adds that Di Canio criticised what he perceives as indiscipline at Sunderland, including poor timekeeping, tenuous excuses for missing training and then reluctance to speak with the team doctor, and a general poor attitude and sloppy mentality.

Di Canio was appointed at the Stadium of Light after Martin O’Neill was sacked despite never having managed in the Premier League before, but the former Celtic, Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham forward took the Mackems to top flight safety.

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