England squad ‘disappointed’ at not reaching bonus deal with FA before World Cup

England’s players have expressed their disappointment at talks with the Football Association over their bonus and commercial structures not being resolved before the start of the World Cup.

In a statement from the team posted on social media by captain Millie Bright, the Lionesses said they would “pause discussions, with full intentions of revisiting them following the tournament”.

The European champions’ campaign at the showpiece in Australia and New Zealand gets under way on Saturday when they face Haiti in Brisbane.

The statement said: “Last year we presented the FA with concerns relating to our bonus and commercial structures. The hope was that discussions would lead to a solution before the commencement of our World Cup.

“We are disappointed that a resolution has still not been achieved.

“We view the successful conclusion of these discussions, through player input and a transparent long term plan, as key for the growth of women’s football in England.

“With our opening game on the horizon, we Lionesses have decided to pause discussions, with full intentions of revisiting them following the tournament.

“We collectively feel a strong sense of responsibility to grow the game. And while our focus now switches fully to the tournament ahead, we believe every tackle, pass and goal will contribute to the work we are committed to doing off the pitch.

“We look forward to playing for our country (at) this World Cup, with pride, passion and perseverance.”

Last month FIFA announced a new financial distribution model to apply to this summer’s tournament.

Under that model, players will be guaranteed performance-related remuneration directly from FIFA, with amounts increasing the deeper teams go in the tournament, ranging from 30,000 US dollars (£23,000) per athlete for the group stage to USD 270,000 (£206,000) allotted to each champion.

Previously, it was up to individual national governing bodies to decide how money was allocated, with some still agreeing to fund additional payments in 2023 beyond the new deal.

England players were understood to have been left disappointed by the fact the FA was not following the lead of the Australian and American federations – where collective bargaining agreements are in place – in paying bonuses on top of the prize money being paid to players direct by FIFA.

Players were also understood to be frustrated over a lack of clarity over what their cut from any commercial deals done by the FA linked to the Lionesses will be, as well as the restrictions around their personal sponsorships.

The PA news agency has contacted the FA for comment.

The Professional Footballers’ Association released a statement from its chief executive Maheta Molango, who said: “Although the issues the Lionesses have highlighted are specific to the negotiations with the FA, they join players from a number of countries at the World Cup who are prepared to make a stand when they don’t think they are being listened to.

“It’s a massive mistake to underestimate the genuine strength of player feeling on these issues.

“It’s no coincidence that this is a particular issue for nations where there is no proper collective bargaining agreement in place between players and governing bodies.

England open their World Cup campaign against Haiti (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“These longer-term agreements require negotiation and will nearly always involve difficult conversations. But when they are completed, they ensure a far higher degree of stability and security.

“They mean that everyone knows where they stand, and that’s obviously a massive advantage going into major tournaments when players just want to be focused on the football.

“The PFA’s view has always been that player rights and conditions should be addressed proactively and viewed as a partnership.

“There will always be consequences when players feel they are having to come back issue by issue to push for parity and progress. It doesn’t need to be like this.”


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