Dáil row over FAI dispute with women’s national team

Minister for Sport told FAI should be called into account in general for its finances

Ruth Coppinger TD raised the row between the women’s national soccer  team and the FAI to highlight what she called the “discrimination and unequal treatment of sport generally”. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ruth Coppinger TD raised the row between the women’s national soccer team and the FAI to highlight what she called the “discrimination and unequal treatment of sport generally”. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

There were heated exchanges in the Dáil between Minister of State for Sport Patrick O’Donovan and Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger in a row over the dispute between the FAI and the women’s national soccer team.

She said Mr O’Donovan had to take some responsibility to “call in the FAI to account” for its treatment of the women’s soccer team. She also said the Minister should call on the FAI to account for its finances in general.

“There have been ongoing issues with what seems to be first-class travel by the top executives while the players are stuck in economy class.”

She said it had happened with the men’s team “but obviously it would be even worse for the women”.

The Dublin West TD raised the row between the women’s team and the FAI to highlight what she called the “discrimination and unequal treatment of sport generally”.

Mr O’Donovan said he was disappointed the dispute happened in the first place but “I am pleased that it has now been resolved”.

Women in sport

He referred to initiatives taken since the Government came into office in relation to sport for women, including golf, the women’s rugby world cup and the GAA’s programme of development for women in sport.

He said that for sport in general “funding is now in place when it previously was not”.

But Ms Coppinger rejected his comments about the FAI dispute, saying that the Minister believed “it’s great that it was sorted out”.

She claimed he had some responsibility to call the FAI to account. The women “should not have had to do what they did. It obviously took a huge amount of work, It did not just happen with the press conference. They should not have had to threaten to go on strike.”

The Minister said Ms Coppinger’s party had not even bothered to make a submission when the Government launched a policy document a number of months ago.He said none of the opposition parties had made a submission.

“You value women in sport and sport so much that you didn’t even bother to make a submission on the overall policy and structural direction.”