Football Association of Ireland CEO Jonathan Hill insists that Vera Pauw’s departure came as a result of the need for a “different and fresh approach”.

Hill’s comments came in response to claims from the outgoing Republic of Ireland manager, who oversaw the team in their recent World Cup campaign in New Zealand and Australia.

After it was announced last month that the Dutchwoman would not be having her contract renewed, Pauw issued a statement claiming that the FAI’s review into their World Cup was “flawed” and the outcome was “pre-determined”, adding that her position had been “undermined”.

At an FAI briefing on Thursday, Hill insisted that “it was clear” Pauw would not “change her fundamental approach”.

Hill said: “It’s important to stress we are not here to criticise the manager’s approach in any of these areas and Vera was very clear, consistent and open in stating not just to us, but also to her staff and players, that she believed that her approach to core areas was absolutely the right one and indeed one she’d adhered to across her entire career.

“We are not doubting that conviction nor indeed her beliefs, but we do feel it is important to recognise that in professional football, as in wider sport, there are always disagreements and at times subsequent tension around style and preparation.

“The manager had her views and believed in her approach, a number of the players and indeed Marc (Canham) simply had a different position.

“What we are saying in simple terms, is that we genuinely believe in order to propel the next phase of growth for this team and women’s and girls football within Ireland more broadly, we feel we need a different and fresh approach.

“There were indeed differences of opinion, but these are part and parcel of the game, but it was clear from discussions with Vera that she was not going to change her fundamental approach.”

Pauw took charge of the team in 2019 and led them to a first-ever World Cup appearance in the summer, but in the background there were rumours of disquiet in the camp and reports of a strained relationship with captain Katie McCabe.

The 60-year-old also went into the competition with a renewed focus on allegations – which she strongly denies- of bullying and belittling behaviour during her time with the Houston Dash, for which she was sanctioned by the NSWL earlier this year.

Following her departure it was confirmed that Eileen Gleeson would be taking charge as interim head coach of the team ahead of the first Nations League fixtures, starting with a clash against Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium this month.

Hill also confirmed in the briefing that Republic men’s manager Stephen Kenny will remain in charge of the side for their remaining Euro 2024 qualifying matches and a friendly against New Zealand in November.

Kenny’s side suffered back-to-back defeats by Group B opponents France and the Netherlands in the space of four days, but Hill added a review will be conducted after the All Whites contest.

He said: “Whilst we might not have achieved the results we would have hoped for during this campaign, with qualification for the tournament set as a goal at the outset, I know the manager and players are fully focused on the remaining matches this year – and they will prepare for and deliver those games accordingly.

“Once those matches are played, as with the women’s World Cup campaign, we will then conduct an in-depth review of the campaign in its entirety and after the final friendly match in November against New Zealand.

“The board will then meet to consider this review and next steps.”

The Republic of Ireland are looking for a new manager after opting not to renew Vera Pauw’s contract despite seeing her guide her team to the World Cup finals for the first time.

Pauw’s departure brings an end to a four-year reign which has seen the nation’s women scale new heights, but the Dutchwoman’s tenure has not been without controversy.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look Pauw’s time at the Irish helm.

What is Pauw’s background?

A former defender who was capped 89 times by the Netherlands, Pauw’s coaching career includes spells with Scotland, the Dutch, who she led to the semi-finals of the 2009 European Championships, Russia and South Africa, as well as National Women’s Soccer League side Houston Dash in the United States. The 60-year-old was appointed to succeed Colin Bell as Ireland boss in September 2019.

How did Ireland fare under her charge?

Having finished third in Group I after a 3-1 home defeat by Germany, Ireland missed out on qualification for the Euro 2022 finals. Defeat by eventual Group A winners Sweden in their opening World Cup qualifier did not deter the Republic, who went on to finish second and then, courtesy of Amber Barrett’s lone strike, beat Scotland in a play-off to book their ticket to Australia and New Zealand. Ultimately they did not progress after narrow defeats by co-hosts Australia and Olympic champions Canada, as well as a draw with Nigeria.

What place does she hold in Irish football history?

Pauw is one of only three coaches, along with Jack Charlton and Mick McCarthy, to lead Ireland to the finals of a senior World Cup. Along with Giovanni Trapattoni and Martin O’Neill, who took the men’s team to Euro 2012 and 2016 respectively, they are the only five people to send out a senior Irish team at the finals of any major tournament.

Where did it go wrong?

Rumours of disquiet within the camp have grown in recent months and several players notably declined to support their manager when asked during World Cup press conferences amid speculation that a conservative approach on the pitch was unpopular in the dressing room. Suspicions of a fracture grew amid a public spat between Pauw and skipper Katie McCabe after the Arsenal winger appeared to call for a substitution during the Nigeria game. The manager later offered a “she’s not the coach” riposte; McCabe responded on social media with a zipped mouth emoji. Pauw had gone into the tournament against the backdrop of a renewed focus on allegations – which she strongly denies – of bullying and belittling behaviour during her time in Houston, for which she was sanctioned by the NSWL earlier this year.

How have supporters reacted to the news?

Not well. Many fans have taken to social media to claim Pauw has been treated poorly after what she has achieved with Ireland, many pointing out that the men’s team has not reached the World Cup finals since 2002.

Who could replace her?

The FAI’s head of women and girls’ football Eileen Gleeson has been placed in interim charge for next month’s Nations League openers against Northern Ireland and Hungary and could be considered for a longer-term role. Like Gleeson, Tom Elmes is highly regarded in the women’s game in Ireland, but as a member of Pauw’s coaching team, may suffer if the FAI decide to make a clean break. Liverpool boss Matt Beard has been touted as a potential replacement, as has former England captain and Manchester United manager Casey Stoney, currently in charge at San Diego Wave.

Republic of Ireland women’s coach Vera Pauw will not have her contract renewed when her current deal expires this week.

The Football Association of Ireland board has decided it does not want to retain the Dutchwoman’s services despite leading the country to their first World Cup this year.

“On behalf of the Football Association of Ireland, we would like to thank Vera for her hard work and commitment over the past four years and wish her well for the future,” said FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill.

“In particular, I wish to acknowledge the role she played in leading Ireland to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 where our women’s team made history and inspired a nation.”

Ireland failed to make the World Cup knockout stages after defeats to co-hosts Australia and Canada and a goalless draw with Nigeria.

There were also reports of a strained relationship with captain Katie McCabe and in the build-up to the tournament Pauw was forced to address – and deny – long-standing allegations of “abusive and inappropriate” methods during her time as manager of Houston Dash.

“The future is bright for women and girls’ football and our focus now is building upon the work done by Vera and the historic achievements of our women’s team, which we see as a platform to support the next phase of the journey for the team, and more broadly the development of women and girls’ football in this country,” added Hill.

Vera Pauw has called on the Football Association of Ireland to reach a decision on her future as Republic of Ireland coach ahead of the team’s final World Cup match against Nigeria.

Pauw’s contract is up at the end of the tournament, with Ireland having already been eliminated following defeats to Australia and Canada in their first two games.

That means Monday’s final Group B fixture in Brisbane could be her last game in charge if a decision is made not to keep her on.

She has repeatedly stated that she hopes to continue in the role to try to lead them to the European Championship finals in Switzerland in 2015.

The 60-year-old, who was appointed in 2019 and has led the Republic to their first major tournament finals in Australia and New Zealand, has been the subject of allegations of misconduct dating back to her time managing Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League.

“Yes,” she replied when asked whether the players deserved to know whether their coach would be staying. “My situation has not changed.

“I think we have a fantastic bond in our team. That has been shown all over the four years.”

Opponents Nigeria were conquerors of co-hosts Australia in their previous game and will advance to the last-16 if they avoid defeat against Pauw’s side.

Ireland need to win and hope that Australia lose to Canada if they are to have any hope of finishing their debut tournament off the bottom of the group.

“We have a fantastic game tomorrow to play,” she added. “Nigeria are ranked 52 (by FIFA) but we all agree now that they are so, so strong.

“They are physically strong, they are skilful and extremely fast so there is a huge task on our plate. I want to concentrate on the game.

“That game is crucial for us, for our feeling, our pride and for the tournament.”

Defender Megan Connolly praised the strides made by the team during Pauw’s four-year tenure, but said ultimately the decision on whether or not she remained in the job was outside of the players’ control.

“Obviously, it’s not my decision,” she said. “What we have achieved in the past two or three years under Vera has been amazing.

“I think she helped us get to this point and I can only speak from my own personal experience and Vera has been great for me, but it’s not my decision.”

Vera Pauw is “a bit concerned” about Louise Quinn’s fitness as the Republic of Ireland look to put a losing start in the Women’s World Cup behind them against Canada.

A 1-0 defeat against tournament co-hosts Australia in Sydney last week was compounded by Quinn suffering a foot injury, with the defender touch and go to face the Olympic champions in Perth on Wednesday.

She lightly trained on Monday and was put through her paces in their final practice session on Tuesday, but Pauw revealed “plan B is ready” should Quinn unexpectedly fail her fitness test.

“We’re a bit concerned but we think that she can play,” the Ireland head coach told a press conference. “It’s an injury that is not very straightforward and it’s relying on how she reacts (during) training. Plan B is ready.”

The Girls in Green go into their next match knowing a defeat would spell the end of their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages in their historic maiden World Cup campaign.

“Winning starts with not losing,” Pauw said. “If you play a game like this against an Olympic champion, I have to stay realistic but it’s clear that if we want to go through in this group, we need a result.

“If we win, we have it in our own hands. If we have a draw then we depend on other results.

“Canada is a very, very experienced team and they know how to have patience in getting their results. They often get their results in the later stages so that shows they have the trust to keep on going.”

But Kyra Carusa feels Ireland can take heart from their battling performance against Australia, where they rallied after Steph Catley’s second-half penalty without being able to find a way through.

“Those last few minutes of the Australia game did light a fire under us and show this 90-plus minutes that we have in us and the dangers we have in us throughout an entire game,” Carusa said.

“That’s definitely something we take away from that game. We are reliable and have that endurance and longevity to make sure we come up with a result at any minute in the game.”

Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw credited her side’s resilience but lauded Australia’s attacking threats despite the absence of Sam Kerr after their 1-0 defeat to the joint-hosts in the Women’s World Cup.

Steph Catley’s 52nd-minute penalty was enough for the Matildas to overcome a dogged Ireland and get them off to the perfect start in Group B.

The hosts were without captain Kerr, with the Chelsea striker set to miss the next two matches of her home World Cup with a calf injury.

Pauw praised her team’s reaction to going a goal down and their overall performance despite defeat.

“It was impossible to switch play in the first half because they (Australia) did really well but in the second half we found solutions and we made changes to make sure we had control in those areas,” Pauw said.

“We had more opportunism in our play because we needed to score and I think that worked out really well. Abbie (Larkin) and Lucy (Quinn) were fantastic when they came on.

“Sam Kerr is of course one of, if not the top striker in the world so the fact that she did not play was a surprise for us but Australia have so many fast and attacking players that our game plan did not change because of that.

“We had prepared for that (top attacking players) and we had taken all their intentions out to get beyond our defensive line, they were not there once and that’s a huge compliment for our team as that’s what they were aiming for.”

Tony Gustavsson credited Kerr’s leadership off the pitch.

The Matildas manager admitted he did not want Ireland to learn the news of her injury prior to Thursday’s fixture.

“She (Kerr) means a lot for us emotionally, spiritually and with that team spirit for sure and Steph (Catley) as a vice captain, the way those two lead this team is amazing,” Gustavsson said.

“Sam is a massive part of Ireland’s game plan and we didn’t want to give that away in advance but once we come to the stadium we didn’t play any type of mind games, we were honest with the team sheet but we wanted to wait to the last second to not give away too much in tournament football.

“I ask for some understanding with that, I hope it’s OK. It’s obviously devastating for us and the players.”

Republic of Ireland coach Vera Pauw admits her players “feared for their bodies” in their abandoned Women’s World Cup warm-up match against Colombia on Friday.

Midfielder Denise O’Sullivan was taken to hospital with a shin injury and the game was halted after just 20 minutes following a number of rough challenges, with the Football Association of Ireland describing it as “overly physical”.

Scans have revealed the North Carolina Courage captain has not sustained any fractures but the extent of a soft tissue injury has still to be discovered.

“It was something I had never experienced before in my 47 years being involved in football, not as a player, not as a coach,” Pauw told Sky Sports.

“It started lively, a good game, normal, and then the atmosphere built up to becoming over-physical.

“Then there came a huge challenge on Denise, a challenge not within the rules of the game and she was in awful pain.

“I went to the coach of Colombia and I said: ‘I need help from you, we need to calm this down. We all want to go to the World Cup’.

“The players were extremely upset and had fear for themselves. We are not a team who fear tackles or challenges.

“I took them away to calm things down, brought them to the bench. We discussed it and there was contact with the president and the CEO of the FAI.

“Collectively we knew it would not come right any more and if it went on we would put our players into a potentially-serious situation.

“We had a calm discussion with the ref and they called off the game.”

Ireland open their World Cup campaign against Australia and Pauw remains optimistic O’Sullivan will be fit.

“We have hopes she can make the game but we need to see, the first 48 hours are very important in these soft tissue injuries,” she added.

The Colombian Football Federation (FCF) released a statement which said, while the training of its teams was “framed within the rules of the game, healthy competition and fair play”, it respected Ireland’s decision.

“The Colombian Football Federation informs that the friendly match… between the Colombia women’s national team and Ireland was suspended because the Irish national team preferred not to continue playing when 23 minutes of the first half had elapsed,” said the statement from the FCF, which has been contacted for further comment.

Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw is perfecting the delicate balance between accepting her World Cup debutants’ underdog status and daring them to “outbelieve” they have what it takes to go deep.

The Girls in Green open their tournament on July 20 under perhaps the most difficult circumstances: facing co-hosts Australia in a match so popular advance ticket sales forced a venue change to Sydney’s 80,000-plus capacity – and now sold out – Stadium Australia.

To advance to the knockouts, Pauw’s side – ranked 22nd in the world – will need to finish second in a group that includes two top-10 teams in seventh-ranked Olympic champions Canada and the number-10 Matildas alongside Nigeria in 40th.

“Something proves only to be impossible the moment it shows to be impossible, and that is our slogan,” Pauw said at an open training session in front of Irish fans at Brisbane’s Meakin Park.

“We get everything out of ourselves, we prepare the best we can. We have a fantastic programme to prepare ourselves and we give our all. We give the best that we have at that moment.

“But in that we need to be realistic. It’s our first World Cup. We do not have as many players as others have, but we have a fantastic group with a heart for Ireland.

“That is immense. We stick together. We’re a team. We work for each other and we give ourselves for each other, and that is our biggest strength.”

The Dutch boss gave Republic fans an encouraging update, confirming her squad was fully fit including captain Katie McCabe, who gave supporters a scare when she tweaked her ankle in a friendly against France last week but has already fully participated in training.

The Arsenal player of the season and her team-mates have been adjusting to the significant time difference through regimented scheduling protocol, though they have avoided the light-altering sunglasses worn by England’s Lionesses.

Pauw said: “The doctor showed there is no evidence and we want to just keep things simple.

“We use the daylight as our guide, we go out of the hotel a lot, we have a lot of free time to be out and with our families and friends to get the sunshine in their eyes.

“This is why we are here, the jet-lag is part of it. You don’t have to be. You can be sitting at home with the feet on the couch watching a movie. Playing elite sport is a choice and that is comfortable at times and uncomfortable at times. We just need to get over it.”

Pauw was at all the World Cups from 1999-2015 as part of the technical study group, but reminded “now is the first time I’m along the sideline, so it’s  very special for all of us”.

The reality of a first World Cup is still in many ways still sinking in, but the support seems to be popping up at every turn since Pauw’s squad landed in Australia, where 80,927 Ireland-born people were recorded in the 2021 census and many more consider themselves to have Irish heritage.

Pauw added: “It feels especially real because we’ve met so many Irish people. The whole of Dublin was with our billboards and our slogan ‘outbelieve’.

“We do outbelieve. We do outbelieve we can do something. We know where we stand, we know that we are the underdogs, and it’s not playing but that is the case. We’re 22 in the world ranking list and we’re improving, but we know we have to be realistic and we will give our all.”

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