Ireland must invest in soccer to stop all our young, talented footballers going to England.
That's according to Labour Education Spokesman Aodhán Ó Ríordáin who is putting forward a Dáil motion on the funding of football.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin told Newstalk Breakfast the sport has been neglected in Ireland for far too long.
“[That’s] the way that it's worked for 100 years,” he said. “We've had an underfunded game, which has been the game primarily traditionally of more disadvantaged people.”
"In more recent years, we've seen a huge increase in representation of minorities playing the game.
"I think, throughout the history of the game in Ireland, we've seen it's been very poorly managed from within the FAI".
Deputy Ó Ríordáin said a recent FAI report shows "the infrastructure deficit", and is calling for investment of about €860 million over the next 15 years.
"What we have done is exported every young, talented footballer - male or female - to England," he said.
"We haven't really believed in a domestic football industry here; we're sending a team to the World Cup next month in Australia - and the facilities that those young women, when they were girls, had to work with were pathetic.
"I think when you look at the integration potential of football, the power of it, in many communities around the country - and the lift that the country gets when the senior teams are doing well - I think we have to balance those things".
'Not politically favoured'
Deputy Ó Ríordáin said his plan is not about pitting the GAA against football.
"The more people who play any sport, the better," he said.
"What we want is to have a healthy, active young people who have the best facilities.
"When it comes to soccer, you do go around the League of Ireland grounds and you have to admit that they are in poor shape.
"Every League of Ireland ground, outside of Tallaght, needs a major upgrade.
"We cannot take this game to the next level that it needs to go to without proper investment, which it's never had".
Deputy Ó Ríordáin said part of this reason is because the game is "not politically favoured".
"Traditionally it's seen as the garrison game, seen as an English game, it wasn't involved in the school structure.
"We now have an opportunity to move forward - and we can't support these women in this World Cup, and at the same time oversee the poor infrastructure that the game has in Ireland," he added.