Nigeria players are staging a sit-in protest, refusing to leave their hotel in France until all of their outstanding bonuses are paid, following the team’s elimination from the Women’s World Cup on Saturday.
Players told ESPN they are owed bonuses from two games, against Gambia and Senegal, from as far back as two years ago, amounting to 2 million Nigerian naira (about $5,600 U.S.), but they have been paid only half of that. They also say they are owed five days of daily allowance while at the World Cup.
“They paid us 1 million [naira] and said that is all. We want them to pay the balance,” one player told ESPN. “Part of that money is from two years ago, the other is from three years ago. And they are also owing us five days’ daily allowance here in France.
“Before the World Cup, we asked them for a meeting so that we could discuss our World Cup bonuses, like they did with the men’s team last year. They ignored the letter and nobody said anything about it until now.”
The players are also demanding their share of the World Cup participation fee from FIFA, even though the tournament’s organisers are not scheduled to pay those until September.
Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick told ESPN that all the outstanding allowances have been paid.
“We have paid them everything they are being owed,” he said.
Nigeria reached the knockout stage of the Women’s World Cup before losing to Germany in the round of 16 on Saturday. Elsa/Getty Images
“The only thing outstanding is the participation fee from FIFA, which is not expected to come until after the tournament. But they insist that they want to get paid, as they have spoken to players from Cameroon and France, who told them they have already been paid.”
It is not the first time Nigeria’s women team has staged a protest over bonuses. After winning the 2016 African title in Cameroon, the squad returned home and staged a public demonstration on the streets of the capital, Abuja, to demand payment of their outstanding allowances.
In 2004, the team also sat in for three days at their hotel in South Africa after winning the African title until the allowances were settled.
Nigeria reached the knockout stage of the Women’s World Cup in France before losing 3-0 to Germany in the round of 16 on Saturday in Grenoble.