The Irish Times - Sports Weekend

Pauw says she was harassed by player’s father

- MARY HANNIGAN

The absence of Tyler Toland from the Republic of Ireland football squad for the last 18 months has been a source of some puzzlement for followers of the national team, but manager Vera Pauw has thrown some light on what has become a fractious relationsh­ip with the 19- year- old.

Pauw alleged she had been subjected to “harassment and i ntimidatio­n” by Toland’s father Maurice after she dropped the Donegal teenager from her squad, an allegation he strongly denies.

“The onl y t i me I e v e r spoke to Vera was about 18 months ago, by phone for around 30 minutes, it was a hard conversati­on, but to suggest that it was ‘ harassment and intimidati­on’ is just ridiculous. It was nothing of the sort. All I care about is Tyler, and I felt like she’d been treated extremely unfairly, so that’s what the conversati­on was about. As a father, I have a right to stand up for my daughter, her welfare is my only concern. These allegation­s are a joke.”

When asked i f Toland, who became the Republic’s youngest ever senior internatio­nal back in 2017, just 43 days after her 16th birthday, was still part of her plans, Pauw suggested she would not be considered until she phoned to apologise.

Offend

When asked to specify what Toland had done to offend her, Pauw didn’t specify, other than to imply the player was simply aggrieved about being left out of the team.

“I said before that Tyler Toland had to call me, and that was not for nothing. I have seen the articles in the paper, I have seen Twitter. But when a dad harasses me and a dad is intimidati­ng me for 50 minutes – I had to hold my assistant back – and the player says she will never, ever play for you any more as long as you are coach, and the reason was that she was not in the line- up . . . I want to make that clear for once because there is a lot going on.”

“Young players make mistakes, but she needs to realise she has made one and not try to put i t on my plate. I could have made a case of it, but I’ve not done that to protect her, but she is now going to the papers as if I don’t select her. She needs to call me, ( to say) that she wants to play for me again . . . She decided that I did not like her, and so together with her father she decided she would not play for me.”

Pauw dismissed the suggestion that the onus should be on her, as coach, to contact the young player, who is currently on loan at Glasgow City from Manchester City.

“Not when harassment and intimidati­on is involved. Because I have my rights too, and this has done a lot to me ... It’s the first time in my life I do not protect a player, but stand up for myself. Harassment and intimidati­on is not part of our game – and I need to be protected here.

“She sent me a standard text message after I had a few t alks with her agent. We agreed three times that she had to call me to explain her behaviour, and three times she said yes. Would you text somebody if this is the background? Maybe a bit of guts would help her. I’m not the one breaking her career, I only want to save the career of Tyler Toland. But I’m also a human being.”

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