TRADE unionists slammed the Irish Football Association (IFA) yesterday for refusing to talk to reps about players in Northern Ireland’s women’s team being left out of pocket when they play international matches.
Trade union Siptu sport organiser Denis Hynes condemned the IFA for going back on their promises to discuss the “lack of adequate compensation while on international duty.”
Hynes said: “We have written to the IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson on two occasions in recent weeks, requesting a meeting to discuss our members’ concerns.
“These concerns include a lack of adequate payment to cover the expenses of members of the squad of the senior women’s football team when they are representing Northern Ireland in international competition.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Siptu represented the Republic of Ireland’s women’s team last year after the players threatened to strike over being treated as “fifth-class citizens” and for compensation for loss of wages while on duty.
It is a common problem in the women’s game, with many players having to leave the sport in order to pay the bills.
Yeovil Town captain Ellie Curson left the Women’s Super League club last month to become a full-time primary school teacher.
The Northern Ireland players want a quick resolution in order to prepare for future games.
Hynes added: “The right of female athletes to organise as part of a union has been accepted by a number of international football associations, including those in the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and England.”
He urged the IFA to get round the table for talks.
“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.”
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