Treaty United captain Marie Curtin has urged the FAI to show more leadership when it comes to improving the Women's National League, and claimed players were met with "embarrassing" resistance when they tried to highlight issues they were facing.
RTÉ Sport's Marie Crowe was joined by Curtin, London Lionesses manager Lisa Fallon, Fiorentina defender Louise Quinn and Tony O'Donoghue to examine the state of the women's game in Ireland in a special RTÉ Soccer Podcast.
Curtin, a WNL veteran, claimed that a basic lack of planning and urgency from the FAI was leaving those involved enormously frustrated.
Three years ago the Republic of Ireland women's team had to strike just to get compensation from the FAI to to cover basic resources and monetary compensation. Progress has been made on the international front, but not - says Curtin - in the domestic club scene.
"I think there's a lack of the FAI leading the way here for clubs," she said.
"I feel like they should be leading the way in their support and offering a lot more for clubs, especially new clubs. It just seems to me that it's seriously lacking. With the [Republic of Ireland women's team's] strike in 2017, things improved for the national team, but [the FAI] forgot the Women's National League. Players notice that.
"Recently, any change I see in the FAI comes only when the PFAI step in. That's not really good enough.
"There's a lack of a masterplan here. When do you see the FAI coming out and discussing, what's the plan going forward for the women's programme? What are the milestones that they want to achieve? What are the targets, the goals even?
"There's just that lack of discussion on that. How can you go forward without a plan in place?"
'There's such a lack of a plan'@mariecurtin talks about players' struggles to reform the Women's National League— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) September 28, 2020
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Curtin said she's been part of a group that actively reached out to the FAI to try and improve things, but their concerns were - initially at least - not dealt with.
"At the end of last season a couple of players got together, started by Sylvia Gee and Aine O'Gorman. We got a representative from each club and got together to discuss the problems from the players' perspective.
"The question was asked, 'is the league improving since its inception in 2011?' The general consensus was, 'no it is not'. We eventually got the PFAI involved and we were met with resistance from the FAI.
"It was very disappointing. We tried to meet with them in January and there was such resistance... it's embarrassing what we were met with. We're just trying to help the league.
"From a players' perspective, we have an interesting viewpoint, a unique viewpoint. We were trying to reach out and tell the FAI what can be improved and yes, me and other players in the league definitely have opinions on how it can be improved.
"Even when we reach out to say what can be improved there's such a lack of a plan, it's just very disappointing."
When asked why their efforts were met with such resistance, Curtin replied: "I suppose the PFAI... [the FAI] don't like their involvement. They don't want another public embarrassment. It exposes them, basically.
"We're just here to help. There's a lot of people who want improved conditions for women's football.
"Since then, luckily, we have seen improvements in the media but does it take a push from the PFAI always? Can we not see leadership from the FAI?
"It was disappointing even to see [former FAI interim CEO] Niall Quinn's last appearance on The Late Late Show. Ireland were playing that weekend and there was zero mention of our women's national team playing a game.
"I like Niall Quinn, but if you're coming into the FAI you need to include the women's programme. It needs to be ingrained in the DNA of women's football, of football in general in the country."