In a landmark moment in the fight for equal pay in sport, Ireland’s football association has agreed to a deal that will see its men’s and women’s international teams receive the same match fees.
The historic deal was made and agreed up on by the football association and the captains of the women’s and men’s teams, Katie McCabe and Seamus Coleman.
The association said that Ireland’s men’s team had agreed to a reduction in their international match fees, and the association would match that reduction with a rise in fees for the women’s team.
Kate McCabe, the women’s captain, said it was a great day for Irish football and a huge step forward for equality.
We “have shown the world what can be achieved through unity as we offer male and female international players the same opportunities,” McCabe said.
“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 the work of so many Irish players in the past. They are the real heroes in this story, they took a stand and they passed 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.”
Ireland’s equal pay deal comes four years after the women’s team threatened to strike over their playing and pay conditions, and held a significant press conference where the players said they were treated by the football association as “fifth class citizens”.
“Last year, we gave up over 40 working days to train and prepare for international games. This level of commitment is unsustainable in the current framework,” the players said in 2017.
“Over 60% of the current squad are non-professional, many careers outside the game are on hold and it is becoming financially unrealistic to continue under the current parameters.
“We are elite athletes and compete on the world stage, yet our treatment is far from where it should be.”
Ireland’s football association chief executive Jonathon Hill said the equal pay deal was another big step forward in the growth of the women’s game.
“For some months now, I have been working with Katie, Seamus and Ciaran on this agreement,” Hill said.
“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.”