Football: Ireland coach in trouble over ugly WAGs joke

Republic of Ireland coach Martin O'Neill. photo / Getty
Republic of Ireland coach Martin O'Neill. photo / Getty

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill came under heavy fire when he was accused of making a 'sexist comment' after a casual joke about the WAGs of his players backfired.

O'Neill jested that 'uglier' wives and girlfriends would not be allowed into the Irish team hotel during the Euro finals.

It followed a question to O'Neill about following the lead of Wales' counterpart Chris Coleman and banning WAGs from the team base at the Euros.

"Well, it depends on how good looking the girls are," he replied.

"If they are really attractive, they're very, very welcome. The uglier ones, I'm afraid not."

As giggles erupted in the Aviva Stadium press room, it was put to O'Neill (left) that Roy Keane said his family would be glad to see the back of him for the Euros.

It prompted a dead-pan O'Neill to say, 'Oh, I'm quite sure that's absolutely true.'

Alongside the manager, centurion John O'Shea didn't bite when asked for his take on the WAGS issue.

"My wife and kids are coming over to support, if I'm selected in the final squad. I'm experienced enough to be focused on the job in hand which is getting out of the group," he said.

O'Neill's remarks prompted an angry response from the National Women's Council of Ireland.

"There is no place for sexist comments of this nature in Irish football, particularly at this level," said director Orla O'Connor.

"Interest and participation in soccer among girls and young women is growing in Ireland, and the Euros should be used as an opportunity to increase these participation levels, not for comments such as these."

The Ireland boss may row back on his comments tonight when Ireland play Switzerland in a friendly.

- Daily Mail

- Daily Mail

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