Monday 26 June 2017

Strike fears over Ireland women's concerns

Republic of Ireland Women's Senior manager Colin Bell. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland Women's Senior manager Colin Bell. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Mediation was ongoing last night in an attempt to resolve a dispute between the Ireland women's national team and the FAI over their working conditions.

And a failure to resolve difficulties could open the possibility of strike action around next Monday's international friendly with Slovakia - the first home game for manager Colin Bell.

A press conference has been arranged for this morning where members of the team and their representatives in the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland (PFAI) will "outline the deeply held concerns of the players about the conditions under which they are expected to perform".

The notification of the press conference, which was sent out by SIPTU, added: "These problems have previously been outlined on several occasions to the FAI by the PFAI on behalf of the members of the women's national football team without any effective action being taken."

The PFAI are affiliated with SIPTU. Ireland's players are understood to be unhappy about the fact that they do not receive a daily allowance when they are on international duty - there was a €30 fee in place that was removed, with goalkeeper Emma Byrne voicing her frustrations on that subject back in 2014.

The members of the squad that have day jobs take unpaid leave to represent Ireland and they are seeking an improvement in the conditions as they are using their holiday time to fulfil national team obligations.

They sought the counsel of the PFAI to represent them, but the FAI had indicated that they would like to deal with the players directly rather than conduct discussions through a third party.

However, the PFAI believe that the FAI should be willing to deal with the player's chosen representatives - and they are pointing to a FAI statement from last January which detailed how a bonus package with the men's team had been agreed prior to Euro 2016 with a third party - Ciaran Medlar - acting on behalf of Martin O'Neill's squad.

Unhappy members of the squad are planning to expand on their grievances at the scheduled press event in Liberty Hall.

But discussions between the respective parties were continuing last night to see if a resolution could be reached with an independent mediator introduced with a view to working out a solution.

It comes in a big week for FAI chief executive John Delaney, who is up for election at UEFA Congress in Helsinki tomorrow with a view to winning a place on the Executive Committee of European football's governing body.

Irish Independent

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