FAI respond after Irish women's national team take stand over funding and conditions
They want to compete for trophies on a global level, and are looking for the means to do just that.
Having watched their counterparts on Ireland's women's rugby team go from strength to strength, the country's footballers have spoken out on Tuesday to address concerns over their ability to compete for their country.
Journalist Marie Crowe explained on Soccer Republic why the group of players - with 550 caps between them - were gathering to point out the disparities between how they and the country's senior male footballers were being treated by the sport's governing body in Ireland.
— Soccer Republic (@SoccRepublic) April 3, 2017
Crowe explained that talks had taken place between the players and the authorities - with the Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland (PFAI) brought in to mediate - but that solutions had not been reached and Tuesday's press conference would go ahead.
At that press conference, the players and PFAI representative Stuart Gilhooly explained their difficulties in establishing a meaningful back-and-forth with the Football Association of Ireland on issues such as gym membership, daily allowances around international fixtures, match fees and the fact that the players are not provided with their own tracksuits to keep.
This is a full list of the issues that Ireland's women wanted to see addressed...
Credit: Marie Crowe/Twitter
This was the statement the players issued to the media.
For their part, the FAI have issued a strong rebuttal to the players' concerns and the fact that the players have threatened not to take part in the upcoming clash against Slovakia on 10 April.
The FAI statement reads in full:
The Football Association of Ireland is deeply disappointed that members of the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team have threatened to withdraw from playing for their country in the upcoming match versus Slovakia on April 10, 2017.
The ultimatum by the players concerned comes in spite of repeated invitations from the FAI to the Players to discuss clear and tangible financial offers for the payment and compensation of members of the squad.
Repeated efforts by the Association have been made in a bid to encourage the players to row back from their unprecedented ultimatum.
On five occasions in recent months the FAI has attempted to bring the Players to the table, only to have the offer rebuked at every turn.
Efforts to engage the team, in good faith, have taken place on the following dates.
- October 16
- March 22
- March 28
- March 31
- April 2
The Association has agreed to a mediation process, yet the players have decided to progress regardless with a PFAI press conference, instead of meeting through an agreed mediator.Along with the core issues of Player representation and financial payments, the FAI has made considerable progress on matters outlined by the Players in their list of ‘Issues to be addressed’ last year. However, all efforts to meet directly and discuss these matters have been refused.Proposals to address issues raised in the following areas have been prepared/implemented:
- nutrition and strength and conditioning
- high performance gym access
- hotel accommodation and wifi
- apparel for travel
- goal-keeping coach
- financial offer
The Senior Women’s National Team are provided the standards of care expected of a demanding high performance environment, with top level training facilities, hotel accommodation, dietry, fitness, performance analysis and medical and physio care.
The team has also received significant increases in budget in recent years to attain this high standard, as well as the appointment of a Champions League winning coach.
Separate to the financial offers that the Association has attempted to make to the players, detailed submissions have been sent to Sport Ireland and Government in January 2016, May 2016 and January 2017, to request funding models that address the personal commitments made by players at senior level.