Katie McCabe: ‘It was not about the money for us, it was about parity’

Ireland captain admits major transition didn’t come about without a fight

Ireland’s Katie McCabe shoots during the friendly international against Denmark at Tallaght Stadium in April. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ireland’s Katie McCabe shoots during the friendly international against Denmark at Tallaght Stadium in April. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Your Web Browser may be out of date. If you are using Internet Explorer 9, 10 or 11 our Audio player will not work properly.
For a better experience use Google Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

 

The FAI is having a good run in the gender equality stakes. In four eventful years they have gone from forcing female internationals to change out of Ireland tracksuits in airport toilets to matching appearance fees after Séamus Coleman’s squad took a pay cut to increase the amount Katie McCabe and her teammates now receive.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do this without Séamus and the lads,” said McCabe as Ireland gathered in the Castleknock hotel ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against Australia at Tallaght stadium. “I have sent my gratitude to them, even prior to their games last week, because they had to come down for us to go up.”

Previous match fees, which are now equal, were €2,500 for the Irish men and €500 for the women.

“I think that speaks volumes. It just shows what being Irish is all about. We are in it together. We represent our country.

“It was a very, very proud moment for Irish football, and for little boys and little girls to have something to look up to, because it wasn’t the case when I was growing up.”

McCabe also paid tribute to FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill for allowing her voice, with Coleman’s unflinching support, to be heard during negotiations over pay.

Of course, Hill saw the writing was on the wall after the English FA, Brazil, Norway and Australia embraced an easy public relations victory by reducing the match fees of male millionaires to pay women their due.

Katie McCabe in action for Arsenal during the Women’s Super League match against Reading. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/The FA via Getty Image
Katie McCabe in action for Arsenal during the Women’s Super League match against Reading. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/The FA via Getty Image

US Soccer went further still, calling this week on Fifa to equalise the prizemoney for World Cups, that currently stands at €340 million for the men’s tournament in 2022 and €51 million for the women’s in 2023, as they offer identical contracts to American male and female players.

“When I first came in we were not getting anything,” McCabe continued, “and that is only six, seven years ago. The transition over the last few years has been quick but some of it has been a fight.

“The relationship now with us and Jonathan and the FAI is brilliant. You have seen the changes he has made since he came on board, he really wants to get the FAI to where it should be.

“The relationship between the men and women’s team is the best it has ever been.”

Some media commentary, following the equal pay announcement, put the onus on McCabe’s squad to use the increase in fees as motivation to end a seven-game losing streak, but the Arsenal winger takes a more nuanced perspective.

“People say ‘oh, the money’ but it was not about the money for us. It was about parity, it was about equal opportunity, the same resources and fundamentally that is what we got now. So, it is up to us now to do a job on the pitch, which is great, we can just focus on the football this week.

“It is not about earning loads of money. Honestly, it is not about that. For us, the pressure, we are Ireland, we still want to win games and qualify for major tournaments. If equal pay was on or off the table we still have a job to do as footballers and representing our country we want to win games.

“We’ve done that with nothing. We have had our heart on our sleeves and played with pride every time we put on the shirt so the equal pay thing now, people can use it anyway they want, but ultimately we know our job.”

Ireland’s opening World Cup qualifier in Tbilisi this Saturday has been postponed until next June, due to quarantine laws for players returning to British clubs, so the campaign begins against Olympic silver medallist Sweden in Tallaght on October 21st.

“It is going to be a difficult task. We got Sweden, and you got Finland, Slovakia, Georgia. It’s a difficult group but one that I am confident we can test ourselves against. I definitely feel ready for it.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.