Republic of Ireland news

Republic's women's football team in strike threat over pay and conditions

Captain Emma Byrne at yesterday's press conference in Dublin. Picture from RTÉ
Staff Reporter

THE Republic's women's football team have threatened to go on strike amid claims they were forced to share tracksuits with underage teams and change in public toilets.

At a press conference in Dublin yesterday, their solicitor claimed the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) had treated them as "fifth-class citizens, the dirt on the FAI's shoe".

They threatened to withdraw from an international game on Monday against Slovakia.

The team said despite giving up more than 40 working days to train and prepare for games they receive "no loss of earnings, no match fee or bonus for the time given to represent our country".

"Over 60 per cent of the current squad are non-professional, many careers outside the game are on hold and it is becoming financially unrealistic to continue under the current parameters," they said in a statement.

Stephanie Roche, a one-time nominee for FIFA's Puskas goal of the year award, said the players had to return tracksuits so they could be used by the Republic's underage teams.

Forward Aine O'Gorman added: "We have been getting changed in public toilets on the way to matches".

They want benefits including gym membership, more home-based training sessions and match fees of €300 per international fixture.

However, the FAI said it was "deeply disappointed by the threat to withdraw from Monday's game.

"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," the FAI said.

It also criticised the players for going ahead with the press conference "instead of meeting through an agreed mediator".

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Republic of Ireland news