France 2019: Nigerian women stage sit-in to force FA to pay bonuses

June 23 – Nigeria’s players briefly refused to leave the team hotel after their elimination from the women’s World Cup on Saturday in the latest protest over pay bonuses.

Reports said the players staged a sit-in shortly after Nigeria were beaten 3-0 by Germany who continued their unbeaten run to reach the quarter-finals.

The players are apparently owed bonuses amounting to around 2 million Nigerian naira ($6,537) accumulated over three years, including for games against Gambia and Senegal, but only half that amount had been released to them.

One player told the BBC the team held an overnight meeting in their Grenoble hotel with Aisha Falode, the president of the Nigeria Women Football League and that after hours of deliberation, the Nigerian Football Federation promised to pay the outstanding fees, some of which are said to date back to 2016.

As a result of the meetings, three players missed their flights back to their clubs.

“They paid us 1 million and said that’s all. We want them to pay the balance,” one player was quoted as saying.

“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.”

The outstanding money was said to also include the FIFA participation fee for playing in the tournament. However, according to the Nigerian FA, that isn’t yet due anyway.

“The only thing outstanding is the participation fee from FIFA, which isn’t expected to come until after the tournament,” said Nigerian FA president Amaju Pinnick.

It is not the first time Nigeria have protested over unpaid bonuses. After winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2016, the men’s squad staged a public demonstration.

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