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'This is a fantastic step forward for women's football in Ireland' - FAI handed €200k grant

The government funding will go towards running the Ireland women’s senior team and developing elite player development.

Ireland's senior team celebrating a goal in the recent win over Northern Ireland.
Ireland's senior team celebrating a goal in the recent win over Northern Ireland.
Image: Presseye/William Cherry/INPHO

THE FAI ANNOUNCED today that funding of €200,000 has been received from the government.

Having applied for the grant through the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the association will use the financial boost to help develop women’s football.

More specifically, it will go towards the operational running cost of the senior women’s national team and increasing the training and match programmes.

Back in April, members of the senior Ireland squad held a press conference to highlight their “humiliating” working conditions – with the threat that they would refuse to play if their basic demands weren’t met.

An agreement was eventually reached after mediation talks, and the team has since begun the 2019 World Cup qualification campaign under manager Colin Bell with a convincing 2-0 win away to Northern Ireland last month.

“This is fantastic news for women’s football in Ireland,” said FAI Board member and Chairperson of the FAI Women’s Committee Niamh O’Donoghue. “It represents a very welcome vote of confidence by government in the FAI strategies for developing the support structures for our top players.

Colin Bell speaks to his team Women's national team manager speaking to a number of his players during training. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ireland women’s senior head coach Colin Bell said: “I think this is a fantastic step forward for women’s football in Ireland.

“This investment shows that everyone is behind the development of women’s football. Step by step, we will advance the development of our players individually which will lead to the general overall improvement of our women’s senior team.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this process. This new financial support will be a tremendous boost for talented players at all age groups.”

“This will now help level the playing field with our competitors and it will help ensure that our players are given every opportunity to compete well at the highest level.”

“This marks a significant investment from government to women’s football and will greatly assist the ongoing development of our game,” added FAI High Performance Director Ruud Dokter.

This allows us to provide more support to the women’s senior team and increase standards in order to achieve success. Women’s and girl’s football, from grassroots to elite level, is an area where we are seeing huge improvements and developments.

“On the pitch, our teams are performing extremely well with our senior women’s team starting their Euro 2019 campaign with a win away to Northern Ireland, our U17 women’s team through to the elite round of qualifying and the U19 team travelling
to Netherlands next week for their qualifying round games.

“Off the pitch, the rise in standards of coach education, growing participation numbers in grassroots camps, and the steady progress of the Continental Tyres Women’s National League indicates that we are moving in the right direction.

“While the FAI invests significantly in women’s and girl’s football, it is government support like this that adds massively to the development and running of the game.”

Source: The42 Podcasts/SoundCloud

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