When the England Women’s team flew out to Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup this week, they should have departed in high spirits as defending European Championship winners. However, the Lionesses left under a cloud after a row with the Football Association about bonus pay.
Over the last year, the profile of women’s football in England has skyrocketed, especially thanks to their dramatic victory over Germany in Euro 2022. However, in comparison with their male counterparts, the Lionesses receive much lower wages and a dispute has arisen over the bonuses they would get paid for another strong performance at this year’s World Cup.
New FIFA pay structure
The issue has arisen because of changes dictated by FIFA following pressure from players’ union Fifpro. For this World Cup, FIFA will award every player in the group stage $30,000, rising for each stage of the tournament, up to $270,000 for players in the winning team.
This has been brought in after extensive negotiations to ensure that all players are receiving the same level of pay dependent on how far they get in the tournament, regardless of which association they play for.
The positive side of this is that players are expected to earn around 60% more on average than the previous World Cup, a definite sign of positive progress in international women’s soccer.
Lionesses pay row
However, while this pay is believed to be higher than the Lionesses were previously paid through FA bonuses, they have been unhappy to be told by the FA that there will be no bonuses paid this time, regardless of how well they perform.
This means the English players would miss out on payments that their rivals in the USA and Australia could receive from their associations in bonuses, though other European nations like Germany have confirmed that they won’t be paying bonuses this time.
England players have received £10,000 each to enable their families to attend the World Cup, which is in line with similar payments for the men’s team, but at a time when the game is bringing more and more money in through commercial activity, the lack of bonuses has been a sore point.
This has been made worse by a media blackout imposed by the FA last month restricting how much involvement players could have with sponsorship opportunities during a time when their profile will be higher than ever.
Sources from The FA have claimed that higher costs associated with the World Cup for flights, hotels, etc have meant that they stand to lose money even if England went all the way and won the tournament, which would earn them $4.3 million.
This row has certainly cast another shadow over preparations for the tournament, which has already seen England need to cope with several long-term injuries to key players as well as a couple of disappointing results, including a defeat to Australia in April and a goalless draw with Portugal. Their next game is a warm-up with Canada in Australia behind closed doors ahead of kicking off the tournament against Haiti in Brisbane on July 22nd.
Written and distributed by Chat T Sports.