Asisat Oshoala, who plays for Barcelona and Nigeria, has thrown her support behind FIFA’s decision to pay 2023 Women’s World Cup incentives directly to the players’ bank accounts rather than the previous practise of going through the various national federations.
Each participant will receive at least $30,000 from the competition, with the victorious team’s 23 players each receiving a guaranteed $270,000 award as part of a $110 million total prize pool during the edition that Australia and New Zealand will co-host.
Oshoala, a five-time African Player of the Year, said yesterday on BBC Sports Africa that the money going directly to players rather than federations is a significant improvement.
Oshoala, who is currently in high spirits after helping Barcelona Femeni win the UEFA Champions League, expressed his happiness that players are no longer only dependent on their federations for financial support from World Cup appearances.
Nigeria’s Super Falcons, the most successful national team in Africa, have previously made headlines due to player complaints over unpaid incentives and allowances at continental and international competitions.
Following their elimination against Germany in the round of 16 at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, the Nigerian players threatened a sit-in protest over unpaid pay and incentives.
The players will find it motivating to watch such improvement, so it is incredibly intriguing to observe.
At this year’s competition, which is being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, the defending African champions, South Africa, are joined by Nigeria, which has consistently participated in the event, as well as Morocco and Zambia.
The minimum direct prize money of $30,000 is more than twice as much as the average income of the salaried players questioned for FIFA’s 2022 benchmarking report, which was $14,000.
Many African-based footballers sometimes rely on income from the national teams due to a lack of sponsorship and investment and a rising number of faltering clubs across the continent.
However, Oshoala, who participated in the World Cup competitions in 2015 and 2019, believes the most recent FIFA distribution plan, which has been adopted by the international players organisation Fifpro, can save further embarrassment.
The Barcelona star continued, “It’s not always a good look to stage protests because all the players want to do is focus on the football.”
Member associations will also get additional support for the 2019 Women’s World Cup based on performance, with winners receiving $4.29 million and delegations receiving $1.56 million for taking part in the group stage.
The federations will receive an extra $1.87 million and $2.18 million if the African teams advance through the group stages, respectively, in the round of 16 and quarterfinals.
National federations have been informed by FIFA that it expects member associations to reinvest the money they keep in their football-related operations, such as hiring coaches, funding community projects, fielding young national teams, and implementing capacity-building initiatives for women’s football.
Oshoala, a Barcelona player who has won the European Women’s Champions League twice, believes that this action will enhance the game on the African continent.
This means FIFA will oversee these funds and ensure they are directed to the appropriate areas, and players can also profit individually from them, she added.
The first day of the competition, July 20, will see Nigeria’s team take on Canada in Melbourne, followed by matches against Australia and the Republic of Ireland in Brisbane.