FAI respond to Ireland Women's National Team "unprecedented ultimatum"

The association claim they have attempted to engage in talks with the WNT on five separate occasions

FAI

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) have expressed their "deep disappointment" after the Ireland Women's National Team (WNT) chaired a press conference to criticise their treatment at the hands of the association.

The WNT today addressed members of the media and demanded changes in terms of the treatment of the squad.

Squad members urged the association to address some of the following alleged issues, such as taking unpaid leave to play for the national team and handing back tracksuits so they can be used for other teams.

The players have not confirmed that they will consider strike action in relation to this issue, but have said they are 'willing to do whatever it takes to get it resolved this week', ahead of an a friendly game against Slovakia next Monday April 10th.

In response today, the FAI claim they have attempted on numerous occasions to sit down to resolve some of the issues and have requested to meet - "in an effort to engage the team in good faith" - on the following dates: 16 October, 22, 28,31 March and 2 April. 

"The Football Association of Ireland is deeply disappointed that members of the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team have threatened to withdraw from playing for their country in the upcoming match versus Slovakia on April 10, 2017," the statement read.

"The ultimatum by the players concerned comes in spite of repeated invitations from the FAI to the Players to discuss clear and tangible financial offers for the payment and compensation of members of the squad.

"Repeated efforts by the Association have been made in a bid to encourage the players to row back from their unprecedented ultimatum.

"On five occasions in recent months the FAI has attempted to bring the Players to the table, only to have the offer rebuked at every turn."

They claim the team "are provided the standards of care expected of a demanding high performance environment, with top level training facilities, hotel accommodation, dietry, fitness, performance analysis and medical, and physio care", something which the players contest.

"The Association has agreed to a mediation process, yet the players have decided to progress regardless with a PFAI press conference, instead of meeting through an agreed mediator," they continue.

"Along with the core issues of Player representation and financial payments, the FAI has made considerable progress on matters outlined by the Players in their list of 'Issues to be addressed' last year. However, all efforts to meet directly and discuss these matters have been refused."

They also claim that in some cases of the WNT's complaints, proposals have been either 'prepared or implemented'.

They added: "The team has also received significant increases in budget in recent years to attain this high standard, as well as the appointment of a Champions League winning coach. 

"Separate to the financial offers that the Association has attempted to make to the players, detailed submissions have been sent to Sport Ireland and Government in January 2016, May 2016 and January 2017, to request funding models that address the personal commitments made by players at senior level."

Captain Emma Byrne addresses the media this afternoon during the Republic of Ireland Women's press conference. Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

FAI Statement in Full

"The Football Association of Ireland is deeply disappointed that members of the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team have threatened to withdraw from playing for their country in the upcoming match versus Slovakia on April 10, 2017.

"The ultimatum by the players concerned comes in spite of repeated invitations from the FAI to the Players to discuss clear and tangible financial offers for the payment and compensation of members of the squad.

"Repeated efforts by the Association have been made in a bid to encourage the players to row back from their unprecedented ultimatum.

"On five occasions in recent months the FAI has attempted to bring the Players to the table, only to have the offer rebuked at every turn.

"Efforts to engage the team, in good faith, have taken place on the following dates.

  • October 16
  • March 22
  • March 28
  • March 31
  • April 2

"The Association has agreed to a mediation process, yet the players have decided to progress regardless with a PFAI press conference, instead of meeting through an agreed mediator.

"Along with the core issues of Player representation and financial payments, the FAI has made considerable progress on matters outlined by the Players in their list of ‘Issues to be addressed’ last year. However, all efforts to meet directly and discuss these matters have been refused.

"Proposals to address issues raised in the following areas have been prepared/implemented:

  • nutrition and strength and conditioning
  • high performance gym access
  • hotel accommodation and wifi
  • apparel for travel
  • goal-keeping coach
  • financial offer

"The Senior Women’s National Team are provided the standards of care expected of a demanding high performance environment, with top level training facilities, hotel accommodation, dietry, fitness, performance analysis and medical and physio care.

"The team has also received significant increases in budget in recent years to attain this high standard, as well as the appointment of a Champions League winning coach. 

"Separate to the financial offers that the Association has attempted to make to the players, detailed submissions have been sent to Sport Ireland and Government in January 2016, May 2016 and January 2017, to request funding models that address the personal commitments made by players at senior level."

With additional reporting from Sinead Farrell