Just a day after the Super Falcons elimination from the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the International Federation of Professional Footballers and the Nigeria Football Federation are in a war of words over the payment of outstanding bonuses and allowances of the players, which dates back to 2021, The PUNCH reports.
In a statement on Tuesday, FIFPro confirmed that it received complaints from the players over their outstanding monies with the federation.
“Following the Nigeria women’s national team’s elimination from the FIFA Women’s World Cup, FIFPro can confirm it is assisting players in a disagreement with the Nigeria Football Federation concerning bonus payments, camp allowances and expenses, some of which date back to 2021,” FIFPro said.
“During the World Cup, the players expressed the desire to remain focused on their performance without making public statements or facing other distractions.”
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FIFPro further stated the players’ determination to get their payments after avoiding the distraction in the course of the tournament.
“However, the Super Falcons believe that it is now time for the Nigeria Football Federation to honour their commitments and pay the outstanding amounts.
“The team is extremely frustrated that they have had to pursue the Nigeria Football Federation for these payments before and during the tournament and may have to continue doing so afterwards. It is regrettable that players needed to challenge their own federation at such an important time in their careers.”
In a reply to FIFPro’s statement, the NFF described the global players union’s action as “nothing more than a storm in a team cup.”
The NFF insisted that it would pay the players what they and FIFA promised them, adding that they would be paid for the friendly matches and qualifying matches they were owed, appearance fees and bonuses once FIFA paid the World Cup money.
“It (NFF) recalled that its officials sat down and agreed with the players on what to pay them, but FIFA came up with a juicier package and they were all happy about it. If they had beaten England, for instance, and reached the quarter-finals, the NFF disclosed that the players would have been entitled to $90,000, and not the $60,000 each player will be getting now. A place in the semi-finals would have guaranteed at least $165,000 each (for 4th place, and $180,000 each for 3rd place) for the players.”
According to sources, the payments from 2021 include $1,000 for each player as bonus for the Summer Series in the US, when the Falcons played against USA, Portugal and Jamaica. Some of the players in the squad have been paid while others are yet to receive theirs, The PUNCH learnt.
A Falcons midfielder, who didn’t want to be named, told The PUNCH she couldn’t grant an interview on financial issues concerning the team, following the players agreement with FIFPro.
“The players had a meeting and we agreed not to go beyond FIFPro to grant any interview, everything will be from FIFPro as we have signed and agreed with them. That is why you see players posting the FIFPro statement on social media. So, I can’t give you any update concerning payment of allowances,” the player said.
The NFF has a rich history of owing national team players. After the US Summer Series in June, the Falcons have been involved in 23 matches, including friendlies and the 2022 WAFCON. The latest in the games were friendly matches ahead of the Women’s World Cup.
While in camp in Australia, the players threatened to boycott their opening game against Canada after they were informed by the federation that they would no longer be paid the $3,000 match bonuses following FIFA’s $30,000 financial compensation for all the players in the group stage of the World Cup. The federation also cancelled the 30 per cent share from the $1,560,000 FIFA grant it had promised to pay the players.
Apart from the outstanding payments, the players are also departing the World Cup with the fear that their share of the money from the biggest women’s tournament ever might not be paid by the federation. Each member of the Falcons 23-player squad is entitled to $60,000 for reaching the round of 16 of the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The money is expected to be paid to the players by the NFF after FIFA had settled all the participating member associations.