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FAI could not meet Colin Bell's financial demands as Ireland boss leaves for Huddersfield

Bell resigned his role as Women’s National Team manager yesterday to join Huddersfield Town.

Bell left his position as Head Coach on Saturday.
Bell left his position as Head Coach on Saturday.
Image: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

THE FAI HAVE said they could not meet outgoing manager Colin Bell’s demands to keep him in charge of the Women’s National Team.

The 57-year-old unexpectedly resigned his position as Ireland manager yesterday afternoon after two years in charge.

In an interview with RTÉ on Saturday evening, Bell expressed his frustration with the FAI due to how slowly women’s football in this country was developing.

A Uefa Women’s Champions League and German Cup winner with Frankfurt, Bell received an offer to join Huddersfield Town’s coaching team, but did enter negotiations with the FAI to keep him as Ireland’s WNT manager.

Bell said: “I had a fantastic offer [from Huddersfield] which I declined, then Huddersfield made a better offer and then I told the FAI what was going on. The question then was ‘What do we have to do to keep you?’

“So we went through a few things and had some really good conversations. I made a list of things I thought needed to be done, and how my position should then be defined. We were speaking about over the next four years.

“The women’s national team has come on in leaps and bounds, but still, I was a little bit frustrated that work on the actual structures of underage football and the Women’s National League was going too slow, and I think I had a good plan in place to improve that.

Colin Bell Bell was in charge of the Ireland Women's National Team for the past two years. Source: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

“I was told, basically, that things would carry on as they were to start off with, and then we’d see what happened, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I want progression at every level, and I think I would have been able to really, really grow the game.”

In a statement released on Sunday evening, the FAI said it was unable to meet Bell’s expectations due to the current financial situation the governing body was faced with.

The FAI were first informed last weekend by Colin of the offer from Huddersfield Town and immediately began discussions to determine whether or not the FAI could facilitate Colin’s requirements in order for him to remain,” the association said.

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“Following talks held between Colin and senior representatives of the Association, the Board discussed Colin’s financial and other demands at a meeting on Thursday night but, given the current circumstances around the Association, the Board decided that it was not in a position to agree to his terms to stay at this point in time.

“When informed of the Board’s decision, Colin confirmed to the FAI that he would resign from his position in order to take up the Huddersfield Town offer.”

FFC Frankfurt and Paris St. Germain Bell won the UEFA Women's Champions League with FFC Frankfurt in 2015. Source: DPA/PA Images

The FAI said it wished Bell future success at Huddersfield and confirmed that it has already begun the process to recruit a new manager and will advertise the position.

With a European qualifying campaign to come in the autumn, Dave Connell is understood to be the early frontrunner for the role. 

The 57-year-old former Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians player has enjoyed success with Ireland’s women’s teams at U17 and U19 level.

He previously managed Galway and Limerick in the League of Ireland and in June 2014 oversaw an Ireland U19 side reaching the semi-finals of the European Championships for the first time ever, while he also was in charge for the U17 side’s qualification for the Euros in 2017. 

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Aaron Gallagher

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