FIFPRO, the global umbrella body for professional football players, has issued a forceful statement condemning the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for failing to pay Super Falcons players.
FIFPRO said in a statement released on Tuesday that it is terrible that the Super Falcons’ players have to chase the NFF for money owed to them.
We reported that the Super Falcons considered the option of boycotting their opening game at the World Cup against Canada before the NFF prevailed upon them to avoid such a national embarrassment on a global stage.
Even though Captain Onome Ebi denied such a plot, many believe there is no smoke without a fire.
Now that the Super Falcons have been eliminated from the World Cup, FIFPRO has vowed to ensure that the players get all their outstanding bonus payments, camp allowances, and expenses, some of which date back to 2021.
“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,” the FIFPRO statement read in part
The statement continued, “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.”
Despite the off-field distractions, the Super Falcons players have remained resolute in their performance on the pitch, as evident in their commendable outing at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“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 afterward. It is regrettable that players needed to challenge their own federation at such an important time in their careers,” the FIFPRO statement added.
The build-up to the World Cup was tumultuous for Nigeria, with coach Randy Waldrum making some grievous allegations against the NFF, including a backlog of unpaid salaries.
In an interview conducted early in July, the American said the NFF owed him 14 months’ salary until three weeks ago when the federation paid seven months.
He also added that the NFF owed some players “per diem and bonuses” from two years ago.
“Up until about three weeks ago, I had been owed 14 months’ salary, and then they paid seven months’ salary,” the American said in a chat on the ‘Sounding Off on Soccer’ podcast.
“Before that, for a year and a half to two years, I had been owed for months before I was paid a little bit of it. Starting July, I’ll be eight months behind in salary.
“We still have players that haven’t been paid since two years ago when we played the summer series in the USA. It’s a travesty.”
In May, Ademola Olajire, the NFF’s Director of Communication, admitted the federation was facing “huge financial challenges”, but they were “working hard to resolve the problems”.
“The NFF has been facing huge financial challenges, and there is an ongoing effort to resolve all the issues relating to unpaid wages,” the NFF spokesperson said.
“It is unfortunately not something to be proud of, and the new board of the federation is working hard to resolve the problems,” Mr Olajire added.
Waldrum, however, claimed that FIFA had disbursed $960,000 to all the teams that qualified for the 2023 Women’s World Cup to prepare for the tournament.
The coach demanded accountability from the NFF regarding the money that should have funded the Falcons’ preparation for the World Cup.
“I have a close contact in the US that is very connected to some of the boards at FIFA, and this person told me that in October, every country was given $960,000 from FIFA to prepare for the World Cup. Where’s the money?
“If we had that money, why did we not build a camp in November?”
Though Waldrum has offered to continue in his position, many feel his series of outbursts may work against him.
FIFPRO has given the assurance that it will continue to work with the players to ensure their contractual rights are honoured and the NFF settles all outstanding payments.
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