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Equal pay bid gathers pace for Ireland women as government set to meet FAI

The Department of Sport regard developments elsewhere as ‘welcome if long overdue change and encourage all Irish sporting bodies to consider this’.

Updated Oct 7th 2020, 5:09 PM

THE IRELAND WOMEN’S National Team could be paid the same as their male counterparts soon, as efforts to achieve equal pay get off the ground once again.

diane-caldwell-on-her-75th-appearance Ireland players singing the national anthem before a Euro qualifier last year. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Times of Ireland reported this morning that the government is set to meet with the Football Association of Ireland to request that Vera Pauw’s side are paid the same as their male counterparts in Stephen Kenny’s set-up.

It’s understood that while Irish men’s team players receive €2,500 as a basic appearance fee before any extras such as a win bonus, the women’s team get just 20% of that in €500.

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The junior sports minister and Fianna Fáil TD, Jack Chambers, says that “the minister and I will be engaging with the FAI and the 20×20 campaign to ensure this is addressed”.

A statement from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, seen by The42, reads:

“The Ministers are aware that sporting associations in several countries have decided to bring into line payments of their international men’s and women’s teams. The Ministers regard this as a welcome if long overdue change and encourage all Irish sporting bodies to consider this, and more broadly the parity of treatment of international men and women’s teams at senior and junior levels.

“The Ministers appreciate the positive impact our female international athletes and teams have as role models for girls and young women, and want to ensure they have all necessary supports to achieve their full potential.

“The Ministers fully respect the independence and autonomy of the National Governing Bodies of sport. Through Sport Ireland, the Government continues to support the sporting bodies to deliver programmes aimed at strengthening women’s sport from grassroots through to elite international competition.”

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This follows calls from Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on sport, Chris Andrews, on RTÉ 2′s Game On, last month.

In August, the Brazilian FA confirmed equal pay for male and female international players, while shortly afterwards, the English FA confirmed that payments for appearance fees for their women’s team are in line with their men’s team.

Norway and New Zealand are two more nations to have reached pay parity over the past few years.

Meanwhile, the Irish WNT held an infamous press conference three years ago and boycotted training, demanding improved treatment from the FAI.

Last November, outgoing interim FAI boss Noel Mooney told the Irish Independent that the Association were exploring the idea of equal pay for the men’s and women’s international teams.

Unexpectedly asked for his opinion in today’s pre-match press conference ahead of the all-important Slovakia play-off, Ireland defender Matt Doherty said: “To be honest I don’t really read any of that stuff.

“I can’t really give you a proper answer on it, I would like to be a bit more educated on it and look into it a bit more and give you a little bit more in depth answer. But I guess I don’t see why not. We’re playing for our country, I guess, we’re not breaking the bank with fees and stuff like that, so I guess why not?”

Pauw’s Girls In Green are currently bidding to reach a first-ever major tournament in the European Championships, second in their group behind Germany with a crucial qualifier against Ukraine set for later this month.

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Emma Duffy

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