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Dispute Means Key Ireland Players Could Be Unavailable For Start Of World Cup Camp

Dispute Means Key Ireland Players Could Be Unavailable For Start Of World Cup Camp
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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The Republic of Ireland could be faced with a major stumbling block in their World Cup preparations this summer, with a growing possibility that some of their key player may not be available for their warm up games against Zambia and France.

Vera Pauw's side will take place in the showpiece event for the first time, being drawn in a difficult group alongside Australia, Canada, and Nigeria. As a result, the camp in the buildup to the tournament will be key in preparing the team for the task ahead.

However, they may now be without some important players during that period. That includes captain Katie McCabe (Arsenal), as well as the likes of Courtney Brosnan (Everton), Aoife Mannion (Manchester United), Niamh Fahey and Leanne Kiernan (both Liverpool).

That is due to the face that the the European Clubs Association (ECA), which represents the most successful clubs in European football, have demanded that their players not be released outside of the mandatory FIFA designated window, which begins only ten days before the tournament.


The players mentioned above play for clubs who are part of the ECA.

Vera Pauw facing World Cup headache as stars could be unavailable

The ECA say they are considering this policy in order to combat player burnout. If they follow through with the suggestion, it would mean that a number of key players would be unavailable for the friendlies against Zambia and France at Tallaght Staidum on June 22nd and July 6th.

That would be far from ideal for Vera Pauw as she prepares her side for the tournament in Australia & New Zealand.


In a statement, the ECA explained their reasoning behind the move:

ECA is concerned about the volume of alerts from our Member Clubs on the current widespread practice of National Associations (NAs) calling up players for international duty for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup outside of the mandatory release periods as established in the FIFA International Match Calendar (IMC).

Following extensive consultation within ECA, European clubs will seek to strictly adhere to the mandatory release period and request that the rules governing the release of players to their national teams to be respected ahead of the tournament.

The FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players clearly states that the mandatory release period for the final competition of a tournament commences on the “Monday morning of the week preceding the week when the relevant final competition starts.”

Given that the tournament kicks off on 20 July, the mandatory release period for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup therefore commences on 10 July.

With players being called ahead of this date, in some instances as early as May, there will be insufficient time for adequate rest before the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup begins and upon its conclusion as clubs prepare for the 2023/24 season.

This lack of rest which results from early call-ups evidently contravenes the protection of players’ health and wellbeing which ECA believes shall always be a priority.

It remains to be seen if a compromise can be reached on this issue, although it will certainly not go down well with international teams if it goes ahead as described above.

In what should be a historic summer for the team, Ireland could do with all of the preparation time they can get.


SEE ALSO: Rio Ferdinand Quick To Bring Up Martin Keown's Dubious Arsenal Claim After Man City Humbling

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