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FAI announces equal pay for Ireland's senior men's and women's teams

It has been described as ‘a ground-breaking deal for Irish sport’ by the football governing body.

Ireland captains Seamus Coleman and Katie McCabe.
Ireland captains Seamus Coleman and Katie McCabe.
Image: INPHO

PLAYERS REPRESENTING THE Republic of Ireland’s senior men’s and women’s football teams are to receive equal match fees with immediate effect.

Describing it as “a ground-breaking deal for Irish sport”, the announcement was made this afternoon by the Football Association of Ireland.

“The historic three-way agreement between the men’s and women’s squads and the FAI was brokered by FAI CEO Jonathan Hill and Ciaran Medlar, advisor to the male and female international players, alongside captains Katie McCabe and Seamus Coleman,” explained an FAI statement. 

The deal will involve the men’s squad reducing their fees, with the FAI matching their contribution to ensure that the pay received by the senior women’s team is aligned with that of their male counterparts.

The FAI has also agreed on an equality of approach with the senior men’s and women’s squads with regard to any future qualification for major tournaments.

“This is a great day for Irish football,” said Ireland women’s captain Katie McCabe. “We have taken a huge step forward with this deal and have shown the world what can be achieved through unity as we offer male and female international players the same opportunities.

“I am very proud as Ireland captain of the work that has been put in to get us to this point, not just by the current team but by so many Irish players in the past. They are the real heroes in this story, they took a stand and they passed on the baton to the current generation.

“Seamus Coleman and his team-mates in the senior men’s squad also deserve credit for being brave enough to support us in such a progressive way on this issue. It is really appreciated.

“I also want to thank Jonathan Hill and Ciaran Medlar for their roles in this agreement. The relationship between the FAI and the senior women’s team is stronger than I have ever known it and we look forward to continuing to work together to make Irish football better for everyone who plays our game, regardless of their identity or background.”

Seamus Coleman, captain of the Ireland men’s team, added: “On behalf of the senior men’s squad, I welcome this news today. We are delighted as players to do what we can to ensure that our female international players are treated equally and fairly and we remain fully committed to doing whatever we can to achieve that goal together.

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“This deal is the right one for everyone who plays international football for Ireland, no matter which team they represent. We have been working towards this agreement for some time now with Katie, Jonathan and Ciaran and I hope this acts as an inspiration to many other nations to follow suit.”

The Ireland men’s team resume their bid to qualify for the World Cup under Stephen Kenny with a game away to Portugal on Wednesday night. For Vera Pauw’s women’s side, the World Cup qualification campaign begins with a trip to Georgia on 17 September.

“This is another important milestone in the FAI’s own transformation journey and I believe this equal pay programme shows us to be the progressive footballing nation we have always aspired to be,” FAI CEO Jonathan Hill said. “It is also another step forward in our key strategic goal to grow the women’s game in Ireland in a sustainable and systematic way.

“For some months now, I have been working with Katie, Seamus and Ciaran on this agreement. Katie and her team-mates are role models to all the young girls playing football in Ireland, whilst the actions of Seamus and his fellow players in our senior men’s squad to make this equal pay proposition possible should not be underestimated.”

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Paul Dollery

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