FAI issue statement following gender quotas proposals for sports bodies

Minister of State for Sport Patrick O'Donovan warned that sports groups in Ireland will need to hire more women or face funding cuts

BY Raf Diallo 17:10 Monday 12 December 2016, 17:10 12 Dec 2016

The FAI logo ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The FAI has released a statement in the wake of comments from Minister of State for Sport Patrick O'Donovan who warned that sports groups in Ireland will need to hire more women or face funding cuts as a result.

Stating that gender quotas would be aimed at helping women to "break the last glass ceiling, Minster O'Donovan said that it would require 30% of all board members to be female.

The FAI have released a statement following the announcement:

"The Football Association of Ireland has 21,980 female participants engaged in playing football. As part of our 2016-2020 Strategy we have committed to further increase female participation levels to 26,000 by 2020. Since 2006 the FAI have had a Soccer Sisters Programme, dedicated to increasing female participation in football, with dedicated female only camps run at Easter, every year, since 2009. In 2016 the Women’s International representative teams played 43 matches at 4 different levels from U16 to Senior level.

"In 2016 following consultation and negotiation, the Women’s Football Association of Ireland disbanded and the administration of women’s football came under the remit of the FAI. Part of this negotiating process was to have a guaranteed position on the Board of the Association from women’s football, within the next 12 months.

"A number of important staff and volunteer positions are held by women within the Association including: FAI Company Secretary, Director of Business Partnerships, Head of Legal and Club Licensing, HR Manager, Chair of the Audit Committee and Chair of the Women’s Football Committee. In addition the women’s game has been represented on Council for the past 20 years. Council is of course the ultimate governing body of the Association with power to remove the Board.

"The promotion of women in football, whether that be participation, administration or volunteerism, is essential and central to the work of the FAI. However, it would be inappropriate for the FAI to comment on the Minister’s proposals at this time, since the FAI has not yet been consulted in relation to the proposals."

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