Western Springs part company with women’s head coach Ryan Faithfull

Western Springs have announced the departure of the club’s Head of Women’s Football, Ryan Faithfull.

In a statement posted on the club’s website, Springs said Faithfull was “moving on from the club”.

Club chairman Grant Ramsay thanked Ryan for his contribution which included coaching the women’s first team to second place in the past two seasons of the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League, and to the final of last season’s Women’s National League.

“At the beginning of this season, the club reviewed our goals, and it has now become apparent that we have different views on the approach to the girls’ and women’s programme,” the statement said.

“The time is right for the club and Ryan to pursue new directions.

“I want to thank Ryan for his service over the past 2-3 years and wish him well for his next project.”

The club said it would provide more updates on its arrangements for taking forward its girls’ and women’s programme.

The statement was co-signed by Grant Ramsay (chair), Spencer Turner (junior club chair) and Tony Jones (senior club chair).

Herald report says ‘mass exodus’ was threatened

Following the club’s statement, the NZ Herald reported a threatened mass exodus of women players from Springs after complaints about gender inequality.

The Herald reported: “The Western Springs Premier Women’s team was facing a squad exodus of senior players due to a long-standing dispute with club management about perceived inequities between the treatment of its men’s and women’s teams.”

Players told the Herald the highest-paid senior female squad members received $50 a week to cover expenses, while they believed men’s players were paid nearer to $400.

“Under New Zealand Football’s regulations for the men’s Northern League – which Western Springs’ top men’s team is a part of – players can earn just $150 a week due to the league’s amateur status,” the newspaper reported.

NRF encouraging club and players to seek independent mediation

Northern Region Football issued a statement saying it was working to support and resolve the breakdown in relations between the Western Springs women’s first team group and club leadership.

“Equity of access is key to our strategy. Creating opportunities for girls in women in football is at the heart of what we do,” said Laura Menzies, NRF chief executive.

“We’ve been working with the team and club and strongly suggested they take this to independent mediation. We want the club and team to reach a resolution where everyone feels heard and respected.”

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will bring the world’s best players to our shores — it’s the perfect chance for all clubs to show their commitment to equality in football, offering the same opportunities for girls and women as men.

“There have been many improvements in the last few years, with a number of clubs making good progress. Our game is better for it.

“As a woman who’s played football for many years, I realise there is clearly more work to do. NRF is committed to encouraging and supporting clubs to keep making positive change for everyone’s benefit.”

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