The Republic of Ireland women's team is considering a strike over working conditions as the Irish football association refuses to recognize the national players union as its representative in negotiations.
The footballers (pictured) have told how they have to face sub-standard conditions including changing in airport toilets and sharing tracksuits. They are mulling whether to boycott an April 10 friendly game against Slovakia in Dublin.
To improve their conditions, the Irish women want the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland (PFAI) to represent them in negotiations with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), which oversees both the men's and women's national team.
Aine O’Gorman, who has played 88 times for Ireland, recently visited FIFPro’s offices outside Amsterdam with PFAI officials to speak to women players from other countries to discuss the difficulties they face as footballers.
"Essentially, we're paying to play for our country," O'Gorman, 27, told FIFPro. "We have to take days off to work for the national team but we're not reimbursed. In 2016, I was away with the national team for more than 40 days.
“It's a great honour to play for your country, you shouldn't be out of pocket to do so. People have lives, houses, and they need to feed themselves," said O'Gorman, who has a full-time job as a personal trainer.
Other countries are going through the same problems,” O’Gorman said after meeting footballers from Scotland, the United States, Germany, Sweden, Croatia and the Netherlands.
The PFAI, which has long represented men’s footballers, has been admitting female members for 18 months. Both O’Gorman and teammate Emma Byrne, who has played 127 times for Ireland, told FIFPro they were delighted with the support of the Irish union.
Players from other countries such as Atletico Madrid's Marta Corredera have given messages of support to the Irish players.
FIFPro is currently conducting a survey of more than 1,000 women footballers around the world on issues including pay and medical support.
- Published: 04 April 2017