Lionesses slam FA over bonus dispute on eve of Women’s World Cup
England women’s team have hit out at the Football Association on the eve of the World Cup for failing to agree a bonus structure with them before the tournament.
All 25 players in Brisbane has put their signature to a damning statement in which they say they are putting negotiations on hold but will revisit the issue after the tournament.
The dispute between players and the FA has been a long-running issue, with the Lionesses wanting performance-related bonuses put in place before the World Cup starts in Australia and New Zealand on Thursday. The squad want an additional bonus structure to be agreed on top of the global agreement reached between Fifa and the world players’ union, Fifpro, earlier this year.
This Women’s World Cup will see players from every competing nation receive bonuses organised by Fifa, with the same amounts going to every player in the competition, ranging from $270,000 (£206,000) for each player on the winning team to $30,000 (£23,000) for each player who exits at the group stage. The deal represents a major increase on previous editions of the tournament.
In some countries, such as the United States and Australia, the national governing bodies will be adding to that with an additional bonus of their own. It is on that which the Lionesses and the FA have been negotiating.
On Tuesday the England players took the extraordinary action of issuing a joint statement in which they make clear their feelings on the issue.
“Last year we presented the FA with concerns relating to our bonus and commercial structures,” read the player statement. “The hope was that discussions would lead to a solution before the commencement of our World Cup.
“We are disappointed that a resolution has still not been achieved. We view the successful conclusions of these discussions, through player input and a transparent long term plan, as key for the growth of Women’s Football in England.
“With our opening game on the horizon, we Lionesses have decided to pause discussions, with full intentions of revisiting them following the tournament.
“We collectively feel a strong sense of responsibility to grow the game. And while our focus now switches fully to the tournament ahead, we believe every tackle, pass, and goal, will contribute to the work we are committed to doing off the pitch.
“We look forward to playing for our country this World Cup, with pride, passion, and perseverance. Thank you for your support, Your Lionesses.”
The FA has been contacted for a response. The governing body has so far not commented on the issue throughout this summer, having been understood to not want to instigate a public war of words with their players.
The Professional Football Association reacts
The PFA are understood to have been providing support to the Lionesses throughout these discussions, and are believed to be calling for a Collective Bargaining Agreement for the women’s players in England, akin to that agreed in the United States.
Reacting to the Lionesses’ statement, Maheta Molango, the chief executive of the PFA, said: “Although the issues the Lionesses have highlighted are specific to the negotiations with the FA, they join players from a number of countries at the World Cup who are prepared to make a stand when they don’t think they are being listened to.
“It’s a massive mistake to underestimate the genuine strength of player feeling on these issues.
“It’s no coincidence that this is a particular issue for nations where there is no proper Collective Bargaining Agreement in place between players and governing bodies.
“These longer-term agreements require negotiation and will nearly always involve difficult conversations. But when they are completed, they ensure a far higher degree of stability and security. They mean that everyone knows where they stand, and that’s obviously a massive advantage going into major tournaments when players just want to be focused on the football.
“The PFA’s view has always been that player rights and conditions should be addressed proactively and viewed as a partnership.
“There will always be consequences when players feel they are having to come back issue by issue to push for parity and progress. It doesn’t need to be like this.”