Football

Colin Bell Says He Left Role As Women's Manager Due To Lack Of FAI Backing

Colin Bell Says He Left Role As Women's Manager Due To Lack Of FAI Backing

When it was announced that Colin Bell would leave his position as the manager of the Ireland women's team for a role with Huddersfield Town in the Championship earlier today, it was met with a sense of disappointment.

Bell had done some fantastic work with the team during his two-and-a-half years in charge, and it was hoped he would help continue their progression and grow the women's game as a whole in this country.

While it was assumed that Bell left for a better offer in England, it has since emerged that he actually wanted to stay in the job. As has become common place in recent years, it seems much of this comes down to the failings of the FAI.

Bell spoke to RTÉ Sport this evening, saying that he had hoped to stay in the role.

He had met with the FAI to discuss putting new structures in place for the women's game in Ireland, and he felt the plan had been signed off on. When the FAI had a board meeting earlier this week, they decided not to implement the agreed plan.

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I had a fantastic offer, which I declined. Then Huddersfield made a better, then I told the FAI what was going on.

The question then was 'what do we have to do to keep you', so we went through a few things and had some really good conversations. We made a list of things that I thought needed to be done, and that my position should be defined over the next four years.

We were all very optimistic that would happen. After a board meeting that happened on Thursday evening, this was not able to come to fruition unfortunately, so I had to make a decision to leave the FAI.

When asked if Bell felt that FAI's current tumultuous period had played a part in their decision, he seemed to agree with the suggestion.

I think that it would have been a fantastic opportunity in this time when things are very negative, and it is stressful for a lot of people I appreciate that, I think it would have been a fantastic opportunity to show that we want want to grow the women's game in Ireland.

But like I say, it just wasn't possible. I'm very lucky to have an offer I could go to, but the FAI have to make sure that the women's game continues to grow. I think the plan that I had would have helped this.

I think the women's national team has come on leaps and bounds, but I still was a little bit frustrated that structures around underage football and the structures around the women's national league was too slow. I think I had a good plan in place to improve that.

I was told that things would continue as they are to start off with, and then we will see what happens. That wasn't good enough for me, I wanted progression and I wanted it at every level. I think I would have been able to really grow the game.

 

This adds to the list of controversies surrounding the FAI, and is sure to go down badly with the public.

There is a suggestion here that they were not willing to ensure that women's football continues to grow in Ireland by aiding it with extra investment, something that goes against the grain to what is currently happening throughout the rest of Europe.

SEE ALSO: How The Football World Reacted To Martin O'Neill's Surprise Sacking

Gary Connaughton

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