Pauw hits out at FAI “interference” in parting shotMike Finnerty 01 Sep 2023
Outgoing Irish women’s football team manager Vera Pauw has hit out at what she calls “major mistakes” on behalf of the FAI and alleged there was “interference” from Irish football chiefs as she gave her first statement since the decision was made not to renew her contract.
In an interview with RTE, Pauw thanked the Irish players, staff and fans, but also addressed some of the “noise” that overshadowed her position as manager.
“My position became very challenging when executives in the FAI, not technical football coaches, effectively took my seat and spoke to staff members and players regarding their roles in the team before and after the World Cup,” 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.”
The Dutch manager led Ireland to its first-ever Women’s World Cup campaign in Australia and New Zealand, but controversy surrounding the relationship between her and captain Katie McCabe overshadowed Ireland’s performance at the tournament.
“Indeed, some discussions were held with players and staff before and during the World Cup which undermined my position and had an impact on our teambuilding process,” she claimed.
Pauw said she was told by the FAI that the ambiguity surrounding her future would be rectified before the World Cup, but this did not happen.
“Despite committing to issuing an offer to me, the FAI re-considered their stated position and I never received the promised offer. I parked the contract discussions while we were in Australia, as my sole focus was the team and the competition.”
Despite the controversy, Pauw said “to have qualified for our first World Cup was a true reflection of our progress and was an historic achievement shared by us all. I am so proud of our campaign, from our first qualifying game through to our final match at the World Cup finals.”
“It is hopefully only the start of much more to come. While we had hoped for better results on the pitch in Australia, even when faced with our biggest opponents, we demonstrated our growth and our ability to compete at the world’s highest level.”
Ireland finished bottom of a tough group with semi-finalists and host nation Australia, a resilient Nigeria team that took runners-up England to a penalty shoot-out in the knockouts and reigning Olympic champions Canada who were also overshadowed by off-field controversy before and after the tournament.