Tuesday 25 April 2017

Deal struck by women's team will drive sport forward, says manager

Ireland coach Colin Bell talks to Harriet Scott during training with the women's senior squad in Abbotstown, Dublin Photo: Caroline Quinn
Ireland coach Colin Bell talks to Harriet Scott during training with the women's senior squad in Abbotstown, Dublin Photo: Caroline Quinn

Chai Brady

The manager of the women's soccer team has said the deal struck by the team with the FAI would help "push the game forward".

New manager Colin Bell said women's football was a "fantastic" sport with a lot of potential.

He was speaking at a press conference at the FAI headquarters in Abbotstown in Dublin yesterday following a training session.

The women's team are due to take on Slovakia on Monday. Following a public dispute earlier this week, a deal was struck that will give international players a match fee of €300, a tracksuit and win bonuses of €150 for competitive games.

Mr Bell said he was glad the dispute over pay and conditions had been resolved.

"We have to push things forward so this is probably one of those situations that has hopefully helped to push the game forward, now it's up to the girls," he said.

Mr Bell said the focus now should be to try to qualify for tournaments.

"If the league and Irish women's football needs a kick to be able to move forward in a big direction, it's going to be on the pitch," he said.

"It's going to happen if the national team are successful, that's what the Irish women's football needs, it needs a strong women's senior national team that are able to qualify at some stage for a major tournament."

The manager admitted he was aware there was some issues among the women's team, but said he had not known of the extent of the problem at the time.

Mr Bell added that he was new to his role and that much of the issues were before his time.

"All of this has put focus on the women's national team which is good, but also the girls have to know that they are in focus, and it is actually about playing football," he said.

Mr Bell said he had always been confident that the team would play Slovakia on Monday, and the matter between the FAI and the team would be resolved. The team also have friendly matches coming up against Iceland and Scotland in summer.

During the dispute, players had spoken of the time they committed to the international team.

Striker Aine O'Gorman (27) said: "It is a huge honour to play for your country but at the same time we're trying to juggle work and football, it's just to help us to be able to perform to our maximum potential. You sacrifice a lot of holidays. You have to accommodate your days off for football and you have to be clever about sacrificing family events."

Irish Independent

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