Former Ireland Women’s National Team (WNT) manager Noel King says claims that they are treated like ‘fifth class citizens’ are outrageous and an insult.
On Tuesday, PFAI solicitor Richard Stuart Gilhooly also said that the the WNT were seen as ‘dirt on the FAI’s shoe’ in a war of words that has broken out over treatment, conditions and pay.
King was speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland and he said such comments were an insult to him and anyone who has worked to help develop women’s soccer in the country.
“It was what the solicitor had to say from the PFAI, ‘dirt on the shoe, fifth class citizen’ - that is outrageous,” said King, who his now Ireland Under-21 boss.
“Completely wrong. It’s an insult to anyone who has been involved with developing the game, to bring the women’s game to where it is.
“The is progress being made, from where it’s come from, has been massive and not just over the last two years, over the last ten years. Can there be improvements? Certainly. How can that happen? By coming together and talking.
“Going back a number of years, when times were good, the players got per diems and everyone got paid. Then the crash came and that all stopped.
“There’s an offer on the table apparently, I don’t know what that is, but the FAI are in agreement that they should get some money. The quicker they get talking the better because this isn’t helping anybody.”
Ireland international Karen Duggan, also speaking on Morning Ireland, admits she was disappointed to hear King’s comments.
And she added that the players continue to insist that they should be represented by the PFAI in any negotiations with the FAI, even tough the FAI say they will not deal with the players’ body in talks.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion and Noel works for the FAI. It’s disappointing to hear from someone who has worked at the helm for so long,” said Duggan, who is current FAI senior Women's International Player of the Year.
“There were strong words at the press conference, but we are at the end of our tether banging our heads against the wall for a long time.
“This is about teachers and students and footballers at the end of the day and we haven’t got the skills to interact with the FAI, who have skilled negotiators.
“We have talked with them before but we feel that not enough was done and we want to see the women’s game developed for this group of players and for players coming through so that they can reach their potential.”
The FAI say that they have put a deal on the table to resolve this matter. However, the players say they haven't see it as the FAI won’t deal with the PFAI.
The team are due to train later today ahead of Monday’s game with Slovakia, though doubts remain over whether that session will take place or not.
“It’s still possible that we could train, but that depends on how things develop. I’m at work, but I have my suitcase packed,” said Duggan. “It’s a waiting game.”
Former manager Noel King describes comments by a solicitor representing the Ireland women's team as "outrageous" and "completely wrong" pic.twitter.com/Q8jNjCBLy0— RTÉ News (@rtenews) April 5, 2017