In a development that could further strain relations between the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Super Falcons, players of the national women’s football team have expressed deep dissatisfaction over long-standing issues regarding unpaid bonuses and allowances.
This disclosure comes 43 days after the conclusion of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, held in Australia and New Zealand.
The players, who represented Nigeria on the global stage, recently came forward to voice their concerns, likening their treatment to that of “slaves.”
This latest outcry threatens to rekindle a simmering feud that had previously marred preparations for the Women’s World Cup.
The controversy initially came to light just before the commencement of the FIFA Women’s World Cup when The PUNCH, a Nigerian news outlet, exclusively reported on the team’s intention to boycott their opening match.
The primary bone of contention was the failure of the NFF to honor its financial commitments to the players.
After intense negotiations, an agreement was eventually reached between the Super Falcons and the NFF which stipulated that players would receive a daily camp allowance of $100, a win bonus of $3,000, and a $1,500 bonus for a draw during the tournament.
However, the situation took an unexpected turn when FIFA, the international governing body for football, later announced that each player participating in the Women’s World Cup would receive a minimum compensation of $30,000, substantially higher than what the Super Falcons had secured through their agreement with the NFF.
This stark difference in remuneration has reignited frustrations among the Super Falcons, leading to their recent outcry against the NFF. It remains to be seen how this latest dispute will be resolved and whether it will have a lasting impact on the relationship between the national women’s team and the Nigerian football governing body.
As reported by The Athletic, the players asserted that they had only received less than half of their daily camp earnings and had not received any match bonuses from the NFF.
They don’t treat us as if we are here to play for our country — they treat us as if we are slaves,” one of the players said.
“We disagreed, we told them ‘no.’ You can’t come and tell us you’re not paying us our match bonuses… How can you tell me FIFA included your match bonus (in its money)? They take us as if we are fools, as if we don’t know anything, as if we don’t know our rights,” another player stated.
One player, according to the UK tabloid, noted that their commitment was to the country and not to the federation.
“We’re not playing for the federation; we’re playing for ourselves, playing for our country, playing for our families.
“We love football, we have a passion for it… and that passion is what gives us that drive.”
In response, the Head of Communications for the NFF, Ademola Olajire, stated that FIFA has not yet fulfilled its commitment to provide the promised World Cup funds to the federation.
However, he emphasized that all daily allowances for the World Cup have been disbursed as agreed.
Furthermore, he confirmed that the outstanding bonuses owed to the players prior to the World Cup have also been settled.
“Their daily allowances for the World Cup have been paid. All they’ve been owed previously have been paid, bar one qualifying match.
“They will get their World Cup player allocation money when FIFA sends the monies,” Olajire told The PUNCH.