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06th Jul 2023

Katie McCabe gives a parting dig after World Cup press conference

Niall McIntyre

Vera Pauw has strongly defended herself once again against anonymous allegations which she says are nothing more than ‘a lie.’

Pauw has been shadowed by the whiff of controversy since 2022, when some of her former players at Houston Dash first made the claims that she had mistreated them.

Their gripe, publicised in a piece on the Athletic, was that she had weight shamed them, while attempting to exert excessive control over their eating habits. That she ‘created a culture of fear’ was one of the more explosive allegations made.

The Dutch woman has consistently and vehemently denied any notion of wrong-doing, but an opportunistically-timed piece by the Athletic, a second one, published earlier this week, has brought the controversy right back to the centre of attention once more.

It’s notable that, with Pauw and her captain Katie McCabe in front of the media ahead of a clash with France tonight in Tallaght, Ireland’s final World Cup warm-up game, much of the questions surrounded the controversy.

The press conference was tense and it ended with McCabe leaving the table with a parting dig.

“It’s been a pleasure talking about the World Cup guys. I really appreciate it, thank you,” the 27-year-old from Kilnamanagh told journalists.

To her credit, the Dutch woman didn’t shy away from the tough questions and continued to respond defiantly.

“And this distraction, the timing of this is wrong. And the allegations are false. That is all I want to say.”

“It’s the same story as in December,” said Pauw. “It is something of a few anonymous players, and how can you defend yourself against a lie?”

She went onto make the point that, if these allegations were made against some of the top male managers in the game, then those making them would be laughed out of the room, she said.

“Well, go through the allegations and just put Guardiola or Louis van Gaal orMourinho in that. You’d actually laugh about it because it’s all about coaching. It’s all about coaching, it’s not about anything else. I don’t want to go into the details because it is nonsense. It’s not true.”

Meanwhile, when asked for her opinion on the saga, McCabe said that while she can’t speak for every player on the squad, she is content that Pauw is working in Ireland’s best interests.


“I can’t answer for each and every player. Of course Vera has a style of management that we’re used to now over the last two years.

“It’s something we’ve worked together, we’ve argued with each other of course. You’re never going to get on 100% with your manager at times. She pushes me and I push her.

“In my opinion and from my personal relationship with Vera, of course, we’ve clashed many a times but we’re always professional enough to make sure we are fully focused for the team.

“We know both of our hearts are in the right place in terms of what works best for the Ireland women’s national team going forward.”


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FAI,Katie McCabe