The global players' union has stepped in to support Nigeria's Super Falcons in their fight for overdue payments and improved conditions.
The World Union of Professional Footballers, FIFPRO, issued a resounding statement on Tuesday pledging its support to Nigeria's Super Falcons as they wage a battle against the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) over a prolonged dispute concerning unpaid bonuses, camp allowances, and expenses dating back to 2021.
This move comes as Nigeria's national women's football team, the Super Falcons, faced a contentious showdown with the NFF over pay disparities and unfavorable conditions.
The simmering conflict reached a boiling point during the Women's World Cup, where the Nigerian team strived to focus on their performance while grappling with internal tensions surrounding unpaid dues.
The Super Falcons' players initially chose to keep their grievances private during the tournament, aiming to preserve their focus on the pitch. However, they now assert that the time has come for the NFF to fulfill its commitments and settle the outstanding debts.
FIFPRO lamented the necessity of such a standoff and underscored the significance of preserving players' rights and fair treatment. The players' union expressed regret that the players had to challenge their own federation at a pivotal juncture in their careers.
FIFPRO statement on behalf of Nigeria women's national team
The FIFPRO statement reads: “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.
“During the World Cup, the players expressed the desire to remain focused on their performance without making public statements or facing other distractions. 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. FIFPRO will continue to work with the players to ensure their contractual rights are honoured and the outstanding payments are settled.”
— FIFPRO (@FIFPRO) August 8, 2023
Super Falcons' battle for equity amidst unpaid wages
Coach Randy Waldrum disclosed that he himself was owed seven months' wages, and shockingly, some players had not received payment for a staggering two years.
Despite these challenges, Nigeria managed to progress to the knockout stages of the World Cup, only to be eliminated by England on penalties following a goalless draw in the last-16 match on Monday.
The situation has cast a shadow over the otherwise triumphant and celebrated Nigerian national team, winners of the Women's Africa Cup of Nations on 11 occasions.
Waldrum expressed scepticism regarding the resolution of the dispute, doubting whether the contentious matter would be resolved by the end of the tournament.
In an alarming revelation, Nigeria forward Ifeoma Onumonu highlighted the inadequate conditions the players have had to endure, shedding light on the absence of a gym in their training camp and the necessity of sharing beds.
“There's a lot that needs to be done. Hopefully more people start to talk about it. Coming here it's hard to adjust,” Onumonu expressed, emphasizing the team's resilience despite the hurdles they face.
“We do what we can because we love playing for our country, but hopefully they make it easier for us to do our best.”
The NFF had previously declined to respond to inquiries on the issue, leaving lingering doubts about the resolution of this protracted conflict. FIFPRO, on its part, remains committed to partnering with the players to ensure that their contractual rights are upheld and the overdue payments are settled.
The Nigerian Super Falcons' journey at the Women's World Cup has been not only one of spirited competition on the field but also a steadfast quest for justice and equity off it.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago