HomeCivil Litigation & Dispute ResolutionInvestigation Reveals Allegations of Sexual Abuse against Former Female Soccer Players

Investigation Reveals Allegations of Sexual Abuse against Former Female Soccer Players

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On Sunday the 7th of July, RTÉ Investigates and the Sunday Independent revealed the findings of a two year joint investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour made by women against Irish male soccer coaches throughout the 1990’s.

The RTÉ Investigates documentary: Girls in Green spoke to a number of former Ireland international players and trainees on Ireland’s first state-funded all-women soccer course in the 1990s.

Allegations of Inappropriate Behaviour

The documentary and extensive written articles have led to the Gardaí investigating a former senior football coach following allegations from female footballers that he made unwanted sexual advances to them.

Many of the women who took part in the investigation were unaware that other female players had experienced similar incidents as they had never told anyone about their experiences before and had been afraid to do so.

One of the women shared how she was dropped from the playing squad after she fled a manager’s hotel room after he attempted to kiss her. After this incident, she was never selected to play for Ireland again.

Another player explained how she was exiled from the team for a period of time after she called out inappropriate behavior of a senior manager.

Homophobic Attitude

Many of the former players that took part in the investigation commented on the homophobic attitude of certain senior coaches. One player recalled being told by two senior coaches that they were “getting rid of the lesbians”.

An unnamed player recalled an incident when she was just 18. She was found sitting on a chair in a teammate’s room. She said that two senior coaches then visited her hotel room and was told off for associating with older gay players. When the unnamed player asserted that the coaches had misinterpreted the situation, and that she had a boyfriend who was sitting downstairs in the hotel lobby, one of the coaches said “Right,’ he said, “let’s forget about this. Give me a kiss”.

FAI Stand Down Notice

In March 2024, the FAI issued a ‘stand down’ notice to one of the coaches involved, having learned of some the details of the investigation through the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland (“PFAI”).

FAI Apology

The Football Association of Ireland (“FAI”)  have already issued an apology to former female international players and trainees that suffered alleged abuse or inappropriate sexual advances in the 1990s from FAI coaches.

FAI Interim CEO, David Courell said: “The board and the executive of the FAI are deeply shocked and appalled by these revelations.  I can assure you that providing a safe environment for all involved in Irish football is our paramount consideration.”

Further Information

Our team of specialist solicitors have helped many people who have experienced sexual abuse.

Please contact Avril Scally, Head of our award-winning Medical Negligence & Personal Injury Team in the strictest confidence for a confidential consultation and advice on making a claim.