Irish women drop boycott threat after FAI improves terms


DUBLIN (Reuters) - Members of Ireland's women's soccer team have dropped a threat to boycott their next international match after they reached an agreement with the country's football association to improve what they had called "humiliating" working conditions.

On Tuesday, 14 players urged the association to begin paying match fees, provide compensation for the majority of the squad who are not professionals and to allow them keep their tracksuits after they were forced to change in and out of a shared kit at the public toilets of an airport.

The players refused to train on Wednesday before entering talks with officials from the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) that ran until the early hours of Thursday morning.

"Following lengthy negotiations through the night a comprehensive agreement has been reached which addresses all of the issues raised," a spokesman for the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland (PFAI), the players' representative body, said in a statement on Thursday.

The FAI said it was pleased that both sides had reached a settlement and that the players would return to training.

The controversy came 15 years after the FAI was drawn into a public dispute over playing conditions when then-captain Roy Keane walked out on the men's national team at the 2002 World Cup, famously comparing Ireland's training ground to a car park.

It also played out as FAI chief executive John Delaney was elected to UEFA's Executive Committee on Wednesday.

Among their requests, the players asked that they be paid a match fee of 300 euros (256 pounds), receive gym membership and stay in hotels that had "at the very least" a working and reliable Wi-Fi connection.

"Long night, tough going - Victory! Thank you for all your support. It proves unity is a powerful force," Ireland captain Emma Byrne said on Twitter.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by John O'Brien)

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