Republic of Ireland women face uncertainty over Slovakia tie after row with FAI
The Republic of Ireland women's team's clash with Slovakia next week could be called off amid a row with their national governing body.
A group of 13 players held a press conference in Dublin on Tuesday to express their growing disquiet as they fight for compensation from the Football Association of Ireland for lost earnings while on international duty and improved resources.
Captain Emma Byrne said: "What we want is for the FAI to empower and enable our players to commit to training camps and international games without having to worry about taking unpaid leave from work or being forced to use up all of their holidays."
The women have enlisted the backing of the Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland (PFAI) in their fight over a series of issues, including a demand for match fees of 300 Euros, bonuses of 150 Euros for a win and 75 Euros for a draw, gym membership for the squad and the provision of team clothing - with some players claiming they have had to change in airport toilets to hand back tracksuits after games.
However, the PFAI, which is affiliated to the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), claims the FAI has refused to enter into negotiations with it.
PFAI official Stuart Gilhooly told a press conference: "There is a possibility that the game against Slovakia will not go ahead. The last thing the women's international team want is to not play a game."
However, the FAI insisted it had made repeated overtures to resolve the situation.
It released a statement, which read: "The Football Association of Ireland is deeply disappointed that members of the Republic of Ireland Women's National Team have threatened to withdraw from playing for their country in the upcoming match versus Slovakia on April 10, 2017.
"The ultimatum by the players concerned comes in spite of repeated invitations from the FAI to the players to discuss clear and tangible financial offers for the payment and compensation of members of the squad.
"Repeated efforts by the Association have been made in a bid to encourage the players to row back from their unprecedented ultimatum.
"On five occasions in recent months, the FAI has attempted to bring the Players to the table, only to have the offer rebuked at every turn.
"The Association has agreed to a mediation process, yet the players have decided to progress regardless with a PFAI press conference, instead of meeting through an agreed mediator."
The FAI claim "considerable progress" has been made on the players' demands, but that all efforts to discuss the matter have been rebuffed.