By Gina Bagnulo
The Metropolitan Girls League (MGL), has been a notable youth league for girls Soccer in Dublin with past players including the likes of Ireland International Abbie Larkin.
In recent weeks, the league has seen several of its coaches resign due to recurring incidents of gender-based discrimination.
On August 22nd, the MGL released a statement on its Twitter that referred to a meeting between the MGL and the North Dublin Schoolboys/Girls League (NDSL) clubs a week prior. The statement specified that MGL officers were dismayed due the NDSL/MGL Company’s decision to not include at least one MGL officer to their board.
Statement from MGL Committee Members in relation to status of League pic.twitter.com/8RWW9bIPNs
— Metropolitan Girls League (@Metro_Girls) August 22, 2023
This request could be traced back to an event that took place on July 20th, the opening day of the Women’s World Cup, where the MGL invited their clubs to their annual end of year meeting.
“We were instructed by the NDSL/MGL Directors to cancel the meeting and report to the directors for discussion the following day. Only Philip Henry could attend within 24 hours’ notice where he was advised that if the MGL did not fall in line and recognise that Gary Tolan was now the Chairperson of the league, they (the Directors) would cut the MGL off.”
Considering this ultimatum, the MGL came to the conclusion that separating may be a viable option. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, the MGL realised that this would be a difficult to carry out. Following the meeting and with legal advice, problems were uncovered within the company operating the NDSL/MGL. These included rules not being adhered to such as the non-rotation of Directors (as per the regulations set out by Irish Company Act 2014. 1196).
Despite these legalities, MGL officers Declan Quinn, Philip Henry, and Grace McAuley Ryan were suspended from their roles, before Quinn and Ryan were reinstated on August 17th. Due to his ongoing suspension, on August 25th, a longer statement was released where MGL coaches came to the defence of the directorship of Philip Henry.
MGL Academy Coaches Statement 25th August 2023 pic.twitter.com/IHqheIBYYw
— Metropolitan Girls League (@Metro_Girls) August 25, 2023
“We urge the FAI to bring a swift resolution to this matter, however, without a return to the leadership of Philip Henry at the MGL Academy and a way forward for the MGL league to operate as it should, by committee and member clubs, unimpeded by the decisions of a three-person board, then the full complement of Academy coaches will not return to their positions.”
As a consequence, a pinned tweet on the league’s account states that the page would no longer be active from September 1st.
Needless to say, this series of events illustrate what will become a void for girls soccer in Dublin, especially in a year as pivotal as 2023 for Irish women in the sport.