Football players’ union looks to hold FIFA accountable for player payments at Women’s World Cup

FIFA’s agreement means that half of the total World Cup prize money fund of 110 million USD will be paid to the players in the 32 teams.

Published : Jun 16, 2023 21:50 IST , GENEVA - 4 MINS READ



The global football players’ union is working with FIFA to make sure that payments promised to all players at the Women’s World Cup actually reach them.

FIFA confirmed last week that the 732 players participating in the tournament, which starts next month in Australia and New Zealand, will be paid at least 30,000 USD each. The paycheck rises if teams do well, with each player for the winning team earning 270,000 USD.

The players’ union, known as FIFPRO, helped push for FIFA to dedicate a percentage of the prize money to the players themselves. The union sent a letter to FIFA in October on behalf of players from 25 national teams calling for more equitable conditions and prize money.

“What I think happened last week is the combination of what is maybe the biggest collective action of players on an international level, certainly in football, maybe in sports,” FIFPRO general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffman said on Friday. “This announcement — which substantiates not only that the conditions are equalized, but for the first time, there’s a dedicated significant pool of the prize money pool overall that is guaranteed to players — makes a huge difference in the lives of everyone that goes to the World Cup, and it sets a precedent that will lead us into the future in a very different mindset when it comes to these tournaments and what they mean for the careers of the players.”

FIFA’s agreement means that half of the total World Cup prize money fund of 110 million USD will be paid to the players in the 32 teams. The prize pool is more than three times the 30 million USD prize fund FIFA paid out at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.

Players from the 16 teams which do not advance from the group stage are still guaranteed to get 30,000 USD each. That’s a significant sum for many players who do not play for professional club teams. FIFA reported last year that the average salary for women playing professionally is 14,000 USD.

FIFA outlined the changes in a phone call with players and FIFPRO on Thursday, Sarah Gregorius, FIFPRO’s director of global policy and strategic relations for women’s football, said on a conference call. FIFA provided assurances to the players about making sure those payments are handled correctly.

The 16 nations exiting in the group stage will get a total of 2.25 million USD from FIFA — 690,000 USD to share among the players and 1,560,000 USD for the federations.

FIFA will pay 10.5 million USD to the title-winning nation. The majority of that, 6.21 million USD, will be distributed among the players. The remaining 4.29 million USD goes to the federation.

FIFA previously allocated 30.7 million USD in total to help the 32 teams prepare for the tournament. The players’ clubs will also get daily-rate payments from a 11.5 million USD fund for releasing them to national team duty.

It adds up to 152 million USD in FIFA payments, compared to $50 million for the tournament four years ago.

But the prize money pool for the women is still far from equitable to their male counterparts. The 32 national federations whose men’s teams played at last year’s World Cup in Qatar shared 440 million USD in FIFA prize money.

That may be changing. FIFA president Gianni Infantino has set a target of equal prize money for men and women at their next World Cups in 2026 and 2027, respectively.

FIFPRO acknowledged the need for other stakeholders to increase their investment in the women’s game.

FIFA and broadcasters in Europe recently settled their stalemate over media rights. Infantino had complained that broadcasters offered as little as one per cent of the fees they paid for the men’s World Cup.

This year’s Women’s World Cup is the first under FIFA’s strategy of selling broadcast and sponsor rights separate to the men’s edition. FIFA had historically included the women’s tournament as an add-on to sweeping rights deals for the men’s World Cup.

“We realistically expected that (equalization) would take probably another tournament, but I think at the same time it is not wrong from FIFA to actually call all the other economic contributors to the table,” Baer-Hoffman said. “You can say whatever you want about how footballing institutions have massively under-invested in the game and have not done enough to develop it. At the same time, so have many other stakeholders, whether they are broadcasters, whether they are sponsors.

“So while we think this prize money equalization has to happen in ’26, ’27, no matter what, we also are looking to work with FIFA to make sure that the economics of this tournament continue to develop.”

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