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Former Irish Women's Manager/FAI Employee Noel King Blasts Players' Press Conference

Michael McCarthy
By Michael McCarthy
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The former manager of the Irish Women's National Team Noel King has made a controversial appearance on RTE Radio's Morning Ireland this morning, claiming some of the claims made at the players' press conference yesterday were "outrageous".

King managed the team from 2000 to 2010, before he became manager of the men's Under 21 team, a job he still has today. He's been an employee of the FAI of over sixteen years.


Noel King Morning Ireland:

At the press conference, the PFAI's solicitor Stuart Gilhooly referred to the players as "5th class citizens" and "the dirt off the FAI's shoe". King took massive exception to that comment immediately.


That is outrageous. It is absolutely completely wrong.

I was involved with the FAI at the development plan. You talk about John Delaney talking two years ago about equality, back in early 2000, himself and Niamh O'Donoghue charged me and the women's department to come with a plan that would offer that equality, and the money that's gone into the game, in terms of preparation for international teams, is on a par with boys. Whether you go from 14, 15, 17, 19, seniors... In fact, the senior women's (team) would probably, arguably, have more input internationally given that they have eight friendlies this year. They've just off from Cyprus for four games.

So for that man to say that, it really throws it in my face and all the people who worked with us to try to get the women's game up to where it is today.

Presenter Gavin Jennings cheekily remarked the players were only looking for €300 a day which is the equivalent of John Delaney's daily expense budget is he is elected to the UEFA executive committee today. King doesn't believe the FAI can afford such a cost.

If you haven't got the money, you haven't got the money. Going back a number of years, when times were good, everybody got paid. Then the financial crisis came, and that money stopped. The FAI have an offer on the table, apparently, so they're in agreement that the girls should get some money, I don't know what that offer is, but the quicker they get talking the better really because this is not helping anybody.

With regards to having access to wifi in hotels, King claims it's "not an issue", and in terms of having to go public befores issues such as having to change clothes in airport toilets so tracksuits can be returned the FAI, he also defends the association's position.


The tracksuits has been sorted. That's that problem.

If the WiFi doesn't work in a hotel, that impacts on the staff just as much as the players. We all want the top WiFi, we all want the top hotels.

While claiming that "if they deserve the money, they should get the money", but the problem is the PFAI's involvement and the language used by Gilhooly.


To get involved in talk with a man who would talk like that.... Is that the proper way you would go into a discussion? By starting the discussion by saying we treat them like dirt on our shoe?


I think in the main the players get treated the same

Interestingly, by way of example, King claims his Under 21 team are also unpaid.

The Under 21s team don't get match appearances, don't get fees, so you know, there's no issues there.


Isn't there?


It's fair to say King's appearance on Morning Ireland hasn't gone down too well.

Of course, the last time we heard anything from Noel King was when he attacked Tony O'Donoghue for no reason after an Ireland match when he was caretaker manager after the Trap era.

Morning Ireland later had Irish international and current player of the year Karen Duggan on to explain their side of the story, and she made the reasonable point that the FAI's demand that the players negotiate directly with them is unreasonable given they are not professionally equipped to make a deal with "skilled negotiators" in the FAI and want the PFAI to represent them.

Duggan said that it was still uncertain if today's training session ahead of the friendly against Slovakia next Monday would take place today, remarking that she was at work, but had her bag packed and ready to go.



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