Football/Soccer

The Republic of Ireland women's soccer team dispute with FAI resolved

Republic of Ireland captain Emma Byrne, right, and other members of the international squad Picture: RTÉ

The Republic of Ireland women's team have reached an agreement regarding working conditions with the Football Association of Ireland following mediation talks.

On Wednesday team members carried out their threat not to attend an FAI training camp in Dublin as they fought for the right to compensation from their governing body to cover lost earnings while on international duty, and improved resources.

Among the players' demands were match fees of 300 euros, bonuses of 150 euros for a win and 75 euros for a draw, gym membership for the squad and the provision of team clothing - with some players claiming they have had to change in airport toilets to hand back tracksuits after games.

The FAI confirmed on Thursday morning that talks had led to all issues being resolved and that the players will now resume training ahead of Monday's game against Slovakia.

Its statement read: "The Football Association of Ireland and the Republic of Ireland senior women's national team have reached agreement, following mediation talks.

"Discussions between both sides came to a successful conclusion earlier (on Thursday) morning, where all 'Issues to be addressed', as outlined by the players, were successfully resolved.

"Following the positive outcome to the mediation process the players confirmed that they will return to training today, in preparation for their international fixture against Slovakia on Monday at Tallaght Stadium.

"The association is pleased that both sides have reached common agreement and a settlement, which allows the two parties to move forward together as one, in the best interests of Irish football." A group of 13 players held a press conference in Dublin on Tuesday to express their growing disquiet over the situation.

Captain Emma Byrne said: "What we want is for the FAI to empower and enable our players to commit to training camps and international games without having to worry about taking unpaid leave from work or being forced to use up all of their holidays."

Speaking earlier this week, Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland (PFAI) player executive Ollie Cahill said the team had not taken the decision lightly over not attending the training camp.

He added: "The players wish to make clear that they simply want the FAI to respect their right to choose their own representatives and have all the outstanding issues which are affecting their ability to achieve their maximum potential for their country resolved in a swift, amicable and professional manner."

The PFAI, which is affiliated to the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), claimed the FAI had refused to enter into negotiations with it, but the FAI insisted it had made repeated overtures to resolve the matter.

There had been fears that Monday's friendly could be called off if the stand-off continued to escalate.

PFAI official Stuart Gilhooly told a press conference on Tuesday: "There is a possibility that the game against Slovakia will not go ahead. The last thing the women's international team want is to not play a game."

In a separate development on Wednesday, FAI chief executive John Delaney was voted on to the UEFA executive committee at the UEFA Congress in Helsinki. Delaney refused to answer any questions about the women's issue.

Football/Soccer

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