Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Equality Fiona O’Loughlin TD has called for fairer conditions for Ireland’s women’s soccer team.

Deputy O’Loughlin made the comments following the escalation of the dispute between representatives of the women’s soccer team and the FAI.

“People are shocked to learn of the conditions that the women’s soccer team are expected to endure while representing their country on the international stage. The very idea that players had to hand back their tracksuits on their return to Ireland following an away match is simply disgraceful. It clearly shows that there is a lack of respect by the FAI towards women’s soccer,” said Deputy O’Loughlin.

“Those playing on the women’s soccer team have to pay out of their own pocket to represent their country. They take annual leave from work, at their own expense, in order to attend matches. They show an incredible amount of dedication and are proud to represent their country on the international stage. All they are asking for is for fairer conditions and I believe their demands are reasonable. The FAI needs to do more to lessen the financial burden that has been placed on the women’s soccer team.

“We would never accept this poor level of support for our underage boy’s teams, let alone our senior men’s team. So why do those in charge believe it’s acceptable to treat our women’s team in such a way? The FAI must explain how such a situation could arise in 2017. Unfortunately, too many sectors of Irish society still believe that it’s OK to treat women differently to men.

“I am urging the FAI, the players and their representatives to come together and to agree fairer terms for the women’s soccer team. The players do not want to be in this position and they want the situation resolved as quickly as possible. The Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport will have to play a role should an agreement remain elusive.”