Vera Pauw accuses player’s father of ‘harassment and intimidation’

19-year-old Tyler Toland has not featured in an Ireland squad for 18 months

Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw:  “It’s the first time in my life I do not protect a player, but stand up for myself. Harassment and intimidation is not part of our game - and I need to be protected here.”

Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw: “It’s the first time in my life I do not protect a player, but stand up for myself. Harassment and intimidation is not part of our game - and I need to be protected here.”

 

The absence of Tyler Toland from the Republic of Ireland football squad for the last 18 months has been a source of some puzzlement for followers of the national team, but manager Vera Pauw has thrown some light on what has become a fractious relationship with the 19-year-old.

Pauw alleged that she had been subjected to “harassment and intimidation” by Toland’s father Maurice after she dropped the Donegal teenager from her squad, an allegation that he strongly denies.

“The only time I ever spoke to Vera was about 18 months ago, by phone for around 30 minutes, it was a hard conversation, but to suggest that it was ‘harassment and intimidation’ is just ridiculous. It was nothing of the sort. All I care about is Tyler, and I felt like she’d been treated extremely unfairly, so that’s what the conversation was about. As a father, I have a right to stand up for my daughter, her welfare is my only concern. These allegations are a joke.”

When asked if Toland, who became the Republic’s youngest ever senior international back in 2017, just 43 days after her 16th birthday, was still part of her plans, Pauw suggested she would not be considered until she phoned to apologise. When asked to specify what Toland had done to offend her, Pauw didn’t specify, other than to imply the player was simply aggrieved about being left out of the team.

“I said before that Tyler Toland had to call me, and that was not for nothing. I have seen the articles in the paper, I have seen Twitter. But when a Dad harasses me and a Dad is intimidating me for 50 minutes - I had to hold my assistant back - and the player says she will never, ever play for you any more as long as you are coach, and the reason was that she was not in the line-up . . . I want to make that clear for once because there is a lot going on.”

“Young players make mistakes, but she needs to realise she has made one and not try to put it on my plate. I could have made a case of it, but I’ve not done that to protect her, but she is now going to the papers as if I don’t select her. She needs to call me, (to say) that she wants to play for me again . . . She decided that I did not like her, and so together with her father she decided she would not play for me.”

Pauw dismissed the suggestion that the onus should be on her, as coach, to contact the young player, who is currently on loan at Glasgow City from Manchester City.

“Not when harassment and intimidation is involved. Because I have my rights too, and this has done a lot to me . . . It’s the first time in my life I do not protect a player, but stand up for myself. Harassment and intimidation is not part of our game - and I need to be protected here.

“She sent me a standard text message after I had a few talks with her agent. We agreed three times that she had to call me to explain her behaviour, and three times she said yes.

“Would you text somebody if this is the background? Maybe a bit of guts would help her. I’m not the one breaking her career, I only want to save the career of Tyler Toland. But I’m also a human being.”

Tyler Toland scores a goal despite against Montenegro in 2019. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Tyler Toland scores a goal despite against Montenegro in 2019. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Transcript of Vera Pauw press conference

Mary Hannigan: Can I ask you what the latest situation is regarding Tyler Toland, is she part of your plans?

Vera Pauw: I said before that Tyler Toland had to call me, and that was not for nothing. I have seen the articles in the paper, and I have seen Twitter and I have seen everything. But when a Dad harasses me and a Dad is intimidating me for 50 minutes - I had to hold my assistant back - and the player agrees with that, and the player says she will never, ever play for you any more as long as you are coach . . . I said, ‘well, if you change your mind, just call me’ . . . and the reason was that she was not in the line-up, so I want to make that clear for once because there is a lot going on. I have contact now with her agent, to solve it, because young players may make mistakes, but she needs to realise she has made a mistake and not try to put it on my plate. Because I could have made a case of it but I’ve not done that to protect her, but she is now going to the papers as if I don’t select her. She needs to call me (to say) that she wants to play for me again. Also when she’s on the bench, also when others are better.

Mary Hannigan: Can you expand on what you said about her father?

Vera Pauw: No. I’ve said already too much, but I am fully behind what I said, but I’m not going on because I want to save the career of Tyler Toland.

Mary Hannigan: Can you explain why there was a problem with Tyler initially? What exactly happened?

Vera Pauw: Tyler was in the plans to be in the line-up, but it appeared that others were better so as a 17-year-old she was on the bench, two times. And then she decided that I did not like her, and so together with her father she decided she would not play for me. I read in the paper that she changed her mind, but she needs to call me.

Mary Hannigan: Do you not feel as the coach you should take the initiative and contact her, especially when she’s so young?

Vera Pauw: Not when harassment and intimidation is involved. Because I have my rights too, and this has done a lot to me, and it doesn’t take away my feelings for this squad because this squad is fantastic, but the fact that she’s now in the papers saying the opposite, as if I don’t select her, makes me say what I am saying now. And it’s the first time in my life I do not protect a player, but stand up for myself. Harassment and intimidation is not part of our game - and I need to be protected here.

John Fallon (journalist): What does Tyler have to do to come back in to your squad?

Vera Pauw: Tyler needs to call me and needs to explain how she thinks she can come back in the squad. And she knows that.

John Fallon: Has there been any contact?

Vera Pauw: She sent me a standard text message after I had a few talks with her agent. She needs to call me. That’s the agreement. We agreed three times that she had to call me to explain her behaviour, and three times she said yes. She needs to call me and she needs to explain her behaviour.

John Fallon: She sent a text but she needs to make a phone call?

Vera Pauw: Of course. Would you text somebody if this is the background? We agreed, it’s not that I made this up, three times we agreed with each other that she would call me. Maybe a bit of guts would help her. I’m not the one breaking her career, I only want to save the career of Tyler Toland. But I’m also a human being.

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