Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland women tackle Irish FA over insufficient payment for national team

By Ed Carty

Northern Ireland women's footballers have claimed the sport's bosses are refusing to deal with their claim for adequate pay to cover the expense of playing.

The Siptu trade union, which is representing the players, has written to the Irish Football Association (IFA) for the third time calling for a meeting with officials over fees. An Irish FA spokesperson was optimistic that any issues can be resolved 'quickly with direct dialogue'.

Sector organiser Denis Hynes said it is costing women money to take to the field for Northern Ireland in international matches.

"This is a central concern of our members because these insufficient payments are resulting in players regularly being left in a position where they are unable to afford the loss in earnings they must endure when part of the international squad," he said.

"This results in players withdrawing and a lack of consistency in squads which in turn is undermining the ability of the team to qualify for major tournaments."

The call for a meeting with IFA chiefs follows a successful campaign last year by the Republic's women's team, backed by Siptu, for better pay for loss of earnings and better conditions.

Siptu has written three times in recent weeks to chief executive of the Irish Football Association (IFA) Patrick Nelson.

"Despite assurances that IFA officials would meet with the members of the team so they could outline their concerns and discuss possible strategies to resolve them, this has not occurred," Mr Hynes said.

"While there has been some improvement concerning issues related to the preparation of the squad for international games, our members' central concern, the lack of adequate compensation while on international duty, has not been addressed."

Mr Hynes said the women want the issue resolved swiftly and amicably.

"Our members wish to have this situation resolved without any disruption to their preparation for or participation in international games," he said.

"These players take great pride in playing for Northern Ireland at international level and believe that a fair resolution of the issues that concern them will benefit the long-term future of their sport."

A spokesperson for the Irish Football Association said: “In recent weeks we have been made aware of issues raised by some members of our senior women’s international squad. We have requested a meeting with the players and believe that these issues can be resolved quickly with direct dialogue.”

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