FAI CEO Jonathan Hill faced the Irish sporting media on Thursday morning, with the departure of Vera Pauw as Republic of Ireland manager one of the most pressing topics on the agenda.
After leading Ireland to their first ever major women's international tournament with qualification to this summer's World Cup, Pauw was faced with allegations of misconduct from her previous role at the Houston Dash in the USA - allegations she has vehemently refuted.
Ireland would return home from the World Cup with one point from their three games in a fiercely competitive group alongside hosts Australia, Canada, and Nigeria.
For Pauw, however, the tournament may be defined by her clash with captain Katie McCabe during that final group game against Nigeria, which saw the pair disagree on the tactics and in-game management from Pauw with the game poised at 0-0.
The weeks since Ireland's elimination have seen confirmation from the FAI that Pauw's contract as Ireland manager will not be renewed, and the Dutchwoman has since commented publicly on both the FAI's handling of the situation, and her clash with McCabe.
Though Pauw acknowledged her difference in opinion with McCabe, she urged fans to lay off the Arsenal star, playing down their disagreement during the Nigeria game.
She did, however, come out firing against the FAI. Pauw accused the association of having predetermined her dismissal before the World Cup had even gotten underway, and also suggested that FAI officials had interfered with her preparations with the Ireland team down under during the tournament.
During Thursday morning's press conference, Jonathan Hill denied any suggestion that the FAI had entered the tournament with a decision made on Pauw's future, before explaining that difference in opinion between Pauw, the association, and the players on the Ireland WNT had led to her dismissal.
FAI Chief Jonathan Hill explains reasoning for Vera Pauw's Ireland departure
'It was clear from conversations with Vera that she was not going to change her fundamental approach'
FAI CEO Jonathan Hill says there differences in opinion between Vera Pauw and the FAI on the future direction of the women's national team pic.twitter.com/vzbaQbvuej
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) September 14, 2023
Addressing the departure of Vera Pauw as Ireland WNT manager, FAI CEO Jonathan Hill firstly refuted the suggestion from Pauw that her fate was sealed before the World Cup had even gotten underway.
Hill went on to acknowledge that there had indeed been clashes between Pauw and other figures in the association when it came to how best to take the Irish team forward, and that areas of her approach to training and strength and conditioning had clashed with the beliefs of some players:
The outcome of this review was not predetermined, as has been suggested.
There were some football related themes that resulted form the review, such as training methods and strength and conditioning.
It's important to stress that we are not here to criticise the manager's approach in any of these areas. Vera is very clear and consistent in openly stating - not just to us, but also to the staff and to the players, that she believed her approach to core areas such as these was absolutely the right one, and indeed one she had adhered to across her entire career.
We're not doubting that conviction, nor her beliefs - but we do feel it is important to recognise that in professional football, as in wider sport, there are always disagreements and, at times, subsequent tensions around style and preparation.
The manager had her views and believed in her approach - a number of the players and, indeed, Marc [Canham] simply had a different position.
What we are saying, then, in simple terms, is that we genuinely believe that in order to propel to the next phase of group this team and women's football in Ireland more broadly, we feel we need a different and fresh approach.
There were indeed differences of opinion, but these are part and parcel of the game. It was clear from discussions with Vera that she was not going to change her fundamental approach.
Eileen Gleeson has been confirmed as interim manager for next weekend's clash with Northern Ireland, as the Republic of Ireland WNT play in the Aviva Stadium for the first time.
Gleeson, who served as Pauw's assistant before departing to manage Glasgow City in 2021, had since returned to the FAI as Head of Women and Girl's Football. She will be assisted by record caps holder Emma Byrne, as well as former Cork City boss Colin Healy.