Row between FAI and Women’s National Team resolved

FAI says following agreement the squad can focus on fixture against Slovakia on Monday

The Ireland women’s national football team have held a press conference where they outlined their concerns about the conditions under which they train and play and how the FAI have failed to address these concerns. Video: Bryan O'Brien

 

The Irish women’s senior football team has reached an agreement with the Football Association of Ireland over a dispute that saw the team members decide not to attend training on Wednesday.

On Tuesday fourteen members of the Republic of Ireland women’s team and their representatives raised their concerns over payments for loss of earnings and the general treatment of the squad, including inadequate changing facilities for some matches.

In a brief statement on Thursday morning the FAI said “discussions between both sides came to a successful conclusion earlier this morning, where all ‘Issues to be addressed’, as outlined by the Players, were successfully resolved.”

The statement said the players had “confirmed that they will return to training today, in preparation for their international fixture against Slovakia on Monday at Tallaght Stadium”.

A central issue had been the association’s steadfast refusal to engage with the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland despite the players making it clear that was how they wished to proceed.

It is unclear from the statement if that position has changed.

Goalkeeper and long-time team captain, Emma Byrne said on Wednesday this was the way the team wanted to proceed. “We [the players] don’t want to deal with it.”

She described it as “humiliating” that the players had had to resort to airing their grievances in public but said that a situation in which various members of the squad were obliged to change in and out of FAI tracksuits before and after trips away because they were not allowed to keep kit was unacceptable.

However, former Ireland women’s soccer team manager Noel King had described as “outrageous” some comments made by representatives of the womens’ team.

He said that the descriptions “dirt on the boot of the FAI” and “fifth-class citizens” were “completely wrong.”

Mr King maintained that the women’s team receive money “on a par” with men’s team and the women would not have achieved the international success to date “if the FAI hadn’t put the money in”.

He said that the tracksuit issue had been resolved and that the women’s team stay in the same standard of hotels as the men’s team.

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