SIPTU has written to the Irish Football Association (IFA) requesting a meeting with its officials to discuss a number of issues of concern to members of the union who play for the Northern Ireland Senior Women’s International Football Team. SIPTU Sport Sector Organiser, Denis Hynes, said: “We have written to the IFA Chief Executive, Patrick Nelson, on two occasions in recent weeks, requesting a meeting to discuss our members’ concerns. These concerns include a lack of adequate payment to cover the expenses of members of the squad of the senior women’s football team when they are representing Northern Ireland in international competition. “This is a central concern of our members because these insufficient payments are resulting in players regularly being left in a position where they are unable to afford the loss in earnings they must endure when part of the international squad. This results in players withdrawing and a lack of consistency in squads which in turn is undermining the ability of the team to qualify for major tournaments. “Despite assurances that IFA officials would meet with the members of the team so they could outline their concerns and discuss possible strategies to resolve them, this has not occurred. While there has been some improvement concerning issues related to the preparation of the squad for international games, our members’ central concern which is the lack of adequate compensation while on international duty, has not been addressed.” He added: “The right of female athletes to organise as part of a union has been accepted by a number of international football associations, including those in the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and England. Our union and its members in the Northern Ireland Senior Women’s International Football Team are seeking to have their situation resolved swiftly and amicably. “This can be achieved by the IFA accepting our request for a meeting at which all issues can be discussed and solutions to them found. Our members wish to have this situation resolved without any disruption to their preparation for, or participation in, international games. These players take great pride in playing for Northern Ireland at international level and believe that a fair resolution of the issues that concern them will benefit the long-term future of their sport.”