Shehu Dikko

The Nigeria Football Federation has flatly denied owing players and officials of the Super Falcons any money, in the wake of reports on Sunday morning that the ladies refused to leave their hotel at the World Cup in France over pay dispute with the Federation.

Nigeria lost 3-0 to Germany on Saturday, effectively ending their participation at the World Cup, but on Sunday morning, news filtered in that the Falcons had refused to leave their hotel in France as they were being owed monies as far back as two years ago.

We have paid the players and officials the entitlements due them for the tournament and other outstanding bonuses and allowances were settled before the team arrived at the World Cup finals,” Shehu Dikko, NFF 2nd Vice President, told thenff.com.

According to the Federation, the monies for the Super Falcons’ preparation and participation at the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in France as well as the Super Eagles and the AFCON were recently approved by Nigeria’s president but funds have not been released yet.

In spite of this, the NFF say they ensured they did not owe the girls as the right communication was made with the team captain, Desire Oparanozie to sort out all differences.

To this end, payments made to the players at the pre-World Cup camp in Austria and France (World Cup proper) are set out below:

a) 2016 Women Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier: Nigeria Vs Senegal (Home Match) played in Abuja – Win bonus of N500,000 paid to each player.

b) 2018 Women Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier: Nigeria Vs Gambia (Home Match) played in Lagos – Win bonus of N500,000 paid to each player.

c) Camp and Friendly matches played in Spain – 7 days’ daily allowance of $700 paid to each player.

d) WAFU Cup Tournament (staged in Cote d’Ivoire): Allowance of $500 paid to each player.

e) Pre-World Cup camp in Austria: 14 days’ daily allowance $1,400 paid to each player.

e) Refund made to players on visa procurement, train, bus and airport taxi from their different bases in Europe to the camp in Austria.

f) $4,400 paid to each player, being win bonus for the World Cup match against Korea Republic ($3,000) and 14 days’ daily allowance for the World Cup ($1,400). This was paid directly to each of the players’ domiciliary accounts by NFF fund managers, Financial Derivatives Company and by Friday most of the players had started receiving alerts depending on their banks.

In a statement made public by the NFF Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire, at the time of the team’s loss to Germany, the girls were owed $500 each as their camp allowances for five days as every other backlog had long been paid.

This accounted for the days spent from the end of the group stage to the day they played Germany in Grenoble as the daily allowance is usually paid only when the days are known, as the team could have defeated Germany and thus stayed more days in the tournament.

Accordingly, these payments will be resolved within the next business days upon return of the team to Nigeria,” the statement read.

After the loss to Germany, the players raised the issue of their share of the prize money expected from FIFA. For qualifying to the Round of 16, the NFF is entitled to receive $1million from FIFA (being $750k qualification bonus and $250k for exiting at Round of 16.)

The NFF duly reconfirmed to the team that they would be entitled to get 30% share of the fund from FIFA just like the men’s teams get (Super Eagles for World Cup/AFCON and Eagles B for CHAN) and were informed that these funds would only be available to NFF post-World Cup. The issue of sharing formula with the team was as clarified and the matter was closed.

However, and amazingly, the players later came to inform the NFF officials with the team that they heard that Cameroon and England teams have already been paid their share of participation fees by their Federations, and thus demand NFF paid them.

They were informed that, if indeed Cameroon and England paid their players it was certainly not from FIFA money but other sources and there are 22 other countries that have not paid as well. The NFF further reminded the players that, during the AWCON 2018 in Ghana the NFF decided to double their match bonuses as a motivation for them to win the trophy and other countries didn’t use that as the benchmark to demand the same from their Federations.

The entire issue was conclusively resolved throughout the night and the team duly left their hotel by morning enroute to Nigeria or to different holiday destinations.

In truth, the NFF is very much bewildered as to why the Super Falcons chose to embark on this route,” the statement read.

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