'It’s great news that many players are signing so early' - PFAI secretary Stephen McGuinness

The Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland has hailed the haste with which clubs appear to be settling players' contracts ahead of the 2013 season
The secretary of the Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland (PFAI), Stephen McGuinness has welcomed the change in attitudes among clubs towards the renewal of player contracts.

Speaking at the announcement of the PFAI's six-week training camp for out-of-contract players, McGuinness praised the speed with which players' contracts were being tied up, hailing it as 'great news'.

A host of clubs in the Airtricity Premier Division have re-signed the bulk of their respective squads, with teams such as Drogheda United and St Patrick's Athletic each confirming that 16 players have agreed new contracts.

"The one thing we’ve seen a significant difference in is the amount of players being signed a lot earlier than before," McGuinness told the Irish Times.

He added: "That’s huge, (for example) Drogheda United signing 16 players. When we came back from the tournament last year (Drogheda United manager) Mick [Cooke] met every player as he had no players on his books. There has been a dramatic shift.

"It’s great news, absolutely fantastic, that many players are signing so early. But there is a word of warning on it that if budgets don’t match up, the contracts could be returned to the players," concluded McGuinness.