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Friday 21 July 2017

Budget for England women's team €12m more than our girls get to 'keep them on road'

Call to plough more money in: Ollie Cahill of the PFAI
Call to plough more money in: Ollie Cahill of the PFAI

Anne-Marie Walsh

The women's national soccer team get a yearly budget of €360,000. This is the same amount of money as FAI chief executive John Delaney's wages.

His new role on UEFA's executive committee will push up his earnings by another €100,000.

Sources revealed that the budget for the women's team rose by €60,000 last year, as they played more matches.

However, the budget is dwarfed beside the annual funds for England's women's team - which stood at €12.65m in 2015, higher than any other European country.

Catherine Stewart, who looks after the England team, told the Irish Independent the English Football Association invests €21m into the women's game every year.

"This includes England, the FA WSL, SSE Women's FA Cup and grassroots," she said.

Read More: 'In trying to juggle work and football, we sacrifice a lot'

She said there was a central contract programme in place covering about 30 players but would not share information about their contracts, including match fees, which are confidential.

However, club fees alone can be in the region of €40,000 for the best paid players - what an average male Premier League player might earn in a week.

The budget for the Irish national team is determined by the financial controller based on a cost comparison with previous years, on a "per match basis". Sources said there were never any surpluses as the cost of putting the team "on the road" was "considerable".

Although the FAI gets a Sports Council grant for women's soccer, it is pumped into the organisation at grassroots level.

The team is seeking a modest match fee for international fixtures of €300. In addition they are looking for a €150 win bonus and €75 for a draw. It also wants to recoup loss of earnings for taking time off work to play matches.

Ollie Cahill of the Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland, which is supporting the team in their battle with the FAI, said many players across Europe got higher bonuses and match fees. He noted the huge disparity between the budget for the England and Ireland teams and said this was probably because the England team had been "pushed into a higher level".

"They were third or fourth in the last World Cup, and revenue would have been brought in on the back of that, and they qualified for the Euros," he said.

"You have to speculate to accumulate. The FAI needs to put more money in it at this level. The squad are struggling. The quality is there but support and resources are lacking."

Team member Julie-Ann Russell said the England women get an FA contract and also have a club contract.

"The FA pumps loads of money into them," she said. "Our clubs are amateur and there is no contract."

Irish Independent

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