Football

Irish Women's Team Highlight Alleged Appalling Treatment By The FAI

Irish Women's Team Highlight Alleged Appalling Treatment By The FAI

We told you earlier of potential strife between the Irish international women's team and the FAI. Now, in a fiery press conference at Liberty Hall, attended by 14 players and the Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland (PFAI), they've made some incredible statements about their treatment, seemingly ill-befitting to international football players.

We as players are proud to represent our country at senior international level. Many of us give up time away from work, family and friends for a chance to represent our country.

Last year we gave up over 40 working days to train and prepare for international games. This level of commitment is unsustainable in the current framework. We currently receive no loss of earnings, no match fee or bonus for the time given to represent our country.

Over 60% of the current squad are non-professional, many careers outside the game are on hold and it is becoming financially unrealistic to continue under the current parameters.

We are elite athletes and compete on the world stage yet our treatment is far from where we feel it should be.

With increased investment into the team, and us as players, we feel we have a greater chance to qualify for tournaments on a regular basis and individually reach our full potential as international players.

At the press conference they handed out a sheet addressing the issues that needed to be addressed by the FAI. Some of them are shockingly basic.

  • Access to nutritionist, and individual strength and conditioning programmes
  • Gym membership from squad
  • Hotel accommodation to include at the very least working and reliable wi-fi
  • Apparel for travelling to be provided to the squad prior to meeting-up at the airport
  • More home-based training sessions
  • All non-professional players to receive loss of earnings documented from their employers
  • Goalkeeper coach to remain for campaign, not change from game to game.
  • Match fee for all international fixtures €300
  • Bonus for competitive fixtures €150 win, €75 draw
  • Qualification bonus to be agreed with team captain and player representatives at least four weeks prior to start of qualification campaign.

It really doesn't seem that these demands are too outrageous for a group of players representing their country at the highest level.

Advertisement

One of the most shocking things to come out of the press conference was the issue of tracksuits. The players claim they are forced to return tracksuits to the FAI after games and must share them with underage teams.

In the US, there is also a dispute going over pay for the women's team. They are looking for equal pay as their male counterparts. The Irish team are looking for wi-fi in their hotel and their own tracksuits. It's hard to see how these issues haven't been resolved before it's come to this.

Advertisement

While the players were hard-hitting in what was clearly a difficult situation for them, the most explosive comments in the press conference came from PFAI solicitor Stuart Gilhooly. He claimed that the FAI were slow to respond to the players' discontent over the last two years. He also claimed the FAI eventually responded by suggesting it was "damage players' careers" if they furthered their demands. He was incredibly critical of the FAI's treatment of the team, claiming they were the "dirt of the FAI's shoe".

For more, read the Twitter timelines of Marie Crowe and Ann-Marie Keegan who've been covering the event brilliantly this morning.

Michael McCarthy

You may also like