Monday 19 March 2018

'Begging for support like this is demeaning'

Amy Knightly, whose sister Emma Byrne is the Ireland captain Photo: Tony Gavin
Amy Knightly, whose sister Emma Byrne is the Ireland captain Photo: Tony Gavin

Amy Knightly, from Leixlip in Co Kildare, sent this email to her sister Emma Byrne, the captain of the women's Irish football team, as she prepared for yesterday's press conference:

"Emma - Good luck at the press conference. Here are some thoughts from a family member:

Women's football has come a long way in Ireland. My sister has enjoyed a very extensive career playing for Ireland, so perhaps I have seen more changes than most. Gone are the days where we were asked to accommodate players in our home - players who needed a place to stay in order to attend Irish training sessions and international matches.

Women's football is not a well-paid job. However, these players are athletes and have to dedicate time to training, which comes at a financial cost - gym membership, reduced working hours, and reduced pay. The players require daily training and 6-8 weeks international training. Employers should not be expected to pay the players when they are on international duty. This time is at the players' own cost.

It is an honour and a highlight of a sporting career to play for your country. The price of this honour can be dream-shattering. Especially when, in reality, the price is financial and far reaching.

The Irish players do not have the international clout of Ronald Koeman, who calls upon the FAI to stand up and be accountable. It should have never come to this - standing in front of the media to ask for support from the FAI. It is demeaning for the players and unbecoming of the FAI."

Irish Independent

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