NFF misappropriated FIFA’s $960,000 grant, Falcons’ coach, Waldrum alleges
• Players Plan Boycott Of World Cup Opening Match
• We’ll Manage The Situation For Now, Says Gusau
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has said that it will “manage the situation for now” after Super Falcons coach, Randy Waldrum, alleged that the body misappropriated FIFA’s $960,000 grant meant to prepare the team for the World Cup, in Australia and New Zealand.
It was the second scathing attack on the NFF in as many weeks by Waldrum. The first was their war of words over issues ranging from the team list for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to preparations, and non-payment of salaries.
“In October, every country was given $960,000 by FIFA to prepare for the World Cup, where is that money?” The American asked.
“Up until about three weeks ago, I had been owed 14 months’ salary, and then they paid seven months’ salary. We still have players that haven’t been paid since two years ago when we played the summer series in the USA…it is a travesty,” he said.
There were, however, insinuations in some quarters, yesterday, that the Super Falcons are planning to stage a strike action and boycott their opening game against Canada at the World Cup after the NFF General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, allegedly told them that their match bonuses for the competition had been cancelled by the federation.
According to reports, the players are angry that the NFF allegedly denied them 30 per cent of FIFA’s $1.5m.
The decision to stage a protest in Australia was said to have been taken after six senior players namely Captain Onome Ebi, Rasheedat Ajibade, Asisat Oshoala, Ohale Osinachi, Tochukwu Oluehi, and Desire Oparanozie, held a lengthy meeting on arrival at the Mercure Resorts, Gold Coast, where the team is currently preparing for the World Cup.
“We are going ahead to press for our demands,” a senior player was quoted to have said. “We are ready to go as far as missing our first game against Canada on July 21 because this has to stop.
“On Wednesday night, we held a meeting where we agreed that we were going to find out if what we were asking for is legitimate, and that if it’s legitimate, we will press for our demands. It was what was agreed upon. The next meeting will be after we get the information we need and then the protest will start.”
According to the reports, shortly before the team departed Abuja for Australia on July 2, Sanusi, during a meeting with the players, told them that they would not be paid match bonuses by the NFF, since FIFA had already announced that every player would get $30,000 in the group stage of the tournament.
The NFF scribe was said to have also announced that the players would no longer be given 30 per cent of the $1,560,000 FIFA grant to all member associations for the group stage of the competition.
“We were shocked, team morale went down immediately because we couldn’t believe what the man was saying.
“Since the NFF is treating us like this, we have decided to stage a protest before the competition begins, so that the whole world will know what we are passing through. We can’t keep suffering and smiling.
“At the last World Cup, the same thing happened and we were shortchanged, we won’t allow this to happen any longer. They dare not treat the Super Eagles like this. Is it because we are women? We must put a stop to this this time around,” the report stated.
However, the NFF President Ibrahim Gusau, told The Guardian, yesterday, that the federation would “manage the situation for now.”
He was responding to a message from The Guardian over the allegation made by Super Falcons coach that the body misappropriated FIFA’s $960,000 grant.
It will be recalled that in 2004, the Super Falcons staged a protest in Johannesburg after winning the AWC title over unpaid bonuses.
And in 2016, after returning from Cameroun with its eighth AWC title, the team also staged a sit-in protest at their Abuja hotel to press home their claims for each player to be paid $16,500. The players also protested at France’s 2019 World Cup, just as it also boycotted training ahead of their third-place match against Zambia at last year’s WAFCON in Morocco over the same issue.
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