England Women are keen to sit down with the FA hierarchy to discuss their ongoing dispute over pay and bonuses before the squad meets up for the Nations League matches in a week’s time.
The rift dominated the build up to the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. On the eve of the team flying out for the tournament a row broke out, with the players “disappointed” with the bonuses they were due to be paid by the FA as they progressed through the competition.
However, in a statement the players announced they were putting aside their differences for the duration of the tournament.
Sky Sports News has been told the frustration within the squad remains as they prepare to meet up again, with the two sides no closer to a resolution.
There is no suggestion the players will go on strike, or they will look to reduce their media and commercial duties while on FA duty.
However, those more extreme actions have been discussed in the recent past.
The players’ are adamant they should be rewarded for their achievements directly from FA coffers, rather than just the FIFA bonus payments that were laid out before the World Cup.
“We are disappointed that a resolution has still not been achieved,” the squad said in a statement back in July ahead of the World Cup.
“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.”
What was the row about?
FIFA changed the rules for the World Cup to try to ensure that all the players at the tournament, whatever country they are from, earn the same as their opponents who reach the same stage of the competition.
That means bonuses were set for each round, with all players receiving £24,000 if they got knocked out in the group stages, and £213,000 if they went on to win the World Cup.
In the past, because prize money had been paid directly to individual associations, it had been down to that nation’s discretion to decide how much the players were be paid from the prize fund. That is no longer the case.
The players, however, felt aggrieved the FA was not prepared to fund additional bonuses itself, rather than allowing FIFA to foot the bill.
The inaugural Women’s Nations League, Olympic qualification and the WSL live on Sky Sports – we look ahead to what’s next for England women…
Women’s Nations League and Olympic qualification
The inaugural Women’s Nations League commences on Thursday September 21, with England up against Scotland, the Netherlands and Belgium in League A Group A1.
The first stage of the tournament runs between September and December. Scotland are England’s first opponents on Friday September 22, followed by Wiegman’s former side the Netherlands on Tuesday September 26, ahead of the WSL season.
This year Olympic qualification is up for grabs, with the two Nations League finalists joining 2024 hosts France to represent Europe.
The outcome of the tournament will also help to decide which group England are in for 2025 Euros and 2027 World Cup qualification.
With so much on the line, England will need to turn World Cup final disappointment into focus in less than six weeks.
The players also have WSL, Liga F and Frauen-Bundesliga pre-season training before then.
Women’s Super League
Twenty of England’s 23-player World Cup squad compete in the Women’s Super League, with 15 at top-four clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.
The WSL starts on Sunday October 1 with six matches, including reigning champions Chelsea vs Tottenham live on Sky Sports at 5.30pm.
Some WSL sides have already begun their pre-season training, with England players expected to return to their respective squads in the next couple of weeks, before then regrouping for the Nations League.
After the Lionesses’ European Championship win last year there were record-breaking tickets sales across the WSL, with many hoping this summer’s World Cup campaign will bring even more eyes to the league.
How to follow the WSL on Sky Sports’ digital platforms
Follow all the latest from the Women’s Super League across SkySports.com and app, including exclusive features and interviews, plus dedicated live blog coverage and in-game clips from games live on Sky Sports.
You can also watch free match highlights from every WSL game this season on Sky Sports’ digital platforms and YouTube channel, while all matches will continue to be shown on both Sky Sports Football, as well as on Sky Showcase, available in all Sky homes, even without a Sky Sports package, giving the competition greater visibility.
Alongside coverage and visibility for the league across all Sky Sports’ main social media channels, the bespoke Twitter channel @SkySportsWSL will continue to be the home of all Barclays FA WSL content on Sky Sports.
The Sky Sports WSL TikTok account gives fans 360° coverage of the league and granting them exclusive access to their new favourite players. Through fun challenges and interviews, along with behind-the-scenes footage, viewers will get to know the WSL’s array of personalities and see the sport from a new set of angles.
Meanwhile, fans can also keep up to date with everything on and off the pitch with the return of Three Players and a Podcast, hosted by Caroline Barker.
Key dates for the 2023/24 season
- Barclays Women’s Super League opening weekend: Sunday October 1
- Barclays Women’s Championship opening weekend: August 26 – August 27
- FA Women’s Continental League Cup final: March 30/31
- Barclays Women’s Championship final weekend: Sunday April 28
- Vitality Women’s FA Cup final: May 11/12
- Barclays Women’s Super League final weekend: Sunday May 18