Irish captain Katie McCabe says she “regrets” making a social media post at the height of the Vera Pauw controversy during the World Cup, but said that “player power” did not play a role in Pauw’s departure as manager.
The Irish women’s first ever World Cup outing was overshadowed by a publicised row between McCabe and Pauw, and Pauw’s contract was subsequently not renewed after the tournament.
During the 0-0 draw with Nigeria, the pair appeared to clash over tactical instructions, which led to Pauw remarking to the media “if Katie McCabe wants a change, it doesn’t mean… she’s not the coach.”
McCabe, for her part, posted a zipped mouth emoji on social media.
When asked by reporters about the interaction, McCabe said “it was a bit tongue in cheek at the time. On reflection, I could have maybe handled it a little better,” she told journalists at the Aviva Stadium this afternoon.
Ireland are gearing up for their first game of the post-Pauw era with a Nations League clash against Northern Ireland, but McCabe was keen to set the record straight.
“I feel like there have been a few unfair headlines. This thing of ‘Katie v Vera’ is not a thing. We have spoken and she has wished us well. I will always be grateful for what Vera has given to Irish football.
“We created history together. I wish her well in whatever is next for her.”
McCabe told reporters that Pauw’s contract renewal “was never a decision for the players to make.”
“The FAI did a review and spoke to everybody, and felt they wanted to go in a different direction. From a football point of view, we need to respect that decision.”
“We don’t make those decision as players, as much as the player power narrative has been thrown around. That’s not the case. We understand how the public can interpret that.”
“We’re in a mindset now where we need to move on and give this closure, with full focus for the Nations League.”
Following her departure, Pauw said “my advice – coming from my knowledge and experience – was often disregarded and not respected. In my opinion, no head coach in the world would accept the interference of the executives in technical football affairs.”
“Unfortunately, trust broke down between me and certain people in the FAI. I believe that the review process that was carried out by the FAI was flawed and that the outcome was pre-determined,” she said of the contract renewal process.