Nigeria threaten sit-in protest over unpaid bonuses
Updated: Jan 1
Nigeria’s tournament came to an end on Saturday, but they weren’t eager to leave France. Instead, the players threatened to stage a sit-in protest at the hotel, claiming they were owed unpaid bonuses dating as far back as 2016.
The players told ESPN that they were owed two bonuses from games against Gambia and Senegal. They were owed two million naira, about $5,600 USD, and had only been paid about half that amount.
“They paid us 1 million [naira] and said that is all,” one player said. “We want them to pay the balance.”
“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.”
At first, the Nigerian federation claimed that they had paid the players everything they were owed. But according to the BBC, the players succeeded in getting a meeting at their Grenoble hotel with Aisha Falode, the president of the Nigeria Women Football League.
After hours of deliberation, the federation agreed to pay the money owed. Five players have been given their bonuses, and more money will be released in bits. They will also receive their money from FIFA for this tournament later this year.
Nigeria has appeared at every edition of the Women’s World Cup. This year, they qualified for the Round of 16 despite being put in a difficult Group A. Cameroon also qualified for the Round of 16, marking the first time two African teams were in the Round of 16. Nigeria exited the tournament after suffering a 3-0 loss to Germany.
This is not the first time Nigeria has had to protest for their wages. After winning the 2016 Africa Cup of Nations, they staged a public protest in the city of Abuja over unpaid allowances. In 2004, following another Africa Cup of Nations win, they staged a sit-in at their hotel for three days in South Africa to settle their allowances.