Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

15.19 26 Feb 2021


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FAI CEO Jonathan Hill has said he is committed to addressing issues of pay and opportunities that face women's football in Ireland.

Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw said earlier this week that opportunities provided to both genders need to be equal and then pay can be addressed.

Pauw was speaking on the back of agreeing to a deal that will see her stay on as manager of the national female team for a further two years.

Hill, who was appointed to his new role with the FAI in October of last year spoke to OTB Sports on Friday and firstly expressed his delight at her commitment to the job.

"I was really thrilled that we signed our deal with Vera and we were able to announce that earlier in the week.

"Vera is not just a fantastic coach, and she showed that in relation to the transformation of the team itself, and they were so unlucky not to qualify for Europe.

"She's also an inspirational person, and I think she's an inspiration for women and girls across the whole of Irish football and that's a real area of focus for us moving forward.

"I think she's an inspiration for the whole of Irish football so that was an incredibly important moment for us."

Speaking specifically in relation to the equal pay issue, Hill agreed with Pauw's calls for standards in the women's game to be improved and he said this is something the FAI is looking to address.

"Vera talked in relation to equality of approach as much as equality of pay for women and I'm very mindful of that, I'm very supportive of that, and we will be having conversations moving forward.

"We've made some very positive announcements recently, commercial announcements in relation to SSE Airtricity, not just becoming the sponsor of the Premier League [Division] but also of the First Division but also, most importantly, the Women's National League and I think that is a really important statement and it's very much the direction I want women's football to take, not just financially, but also in our desire to develop the league as well from a sporting perspective.

"I am committed to talking with Vera and the players and to doing what we're doing already in relation to other areas of women's football."

Hill was keen to point out that some commitments have been made by the association that will improve the game but also said more are in the pipeline and he hasn't shied away from his responsibilities.

"Just last night we announced that we are going to be broadcasting all of the Women's National League games on a streaming service this season - it will be available to everyone for free, which I think is another important step.

"I understand how important the financial position for the players is across not just international football but also domestic football within the Women's National League so I will have those conversations with the right people at the right time and I hope that we will do right by women's football moving forward."


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