England right back Lucy Bronze has said the squad feel “empowered” after releasing a collective statement, using captain Millie Bright’s Twitter account, on Tuesday, revealing they had failed to reach a resolution with the FA in a dispute over bonuses.
Individual team members are paid the same flat match rate of £2,000 by the FA as the men’s side outside of tournament football, but have been seeking improved bonuses for reaching the latter stages of international competitions. Conversations are also taking place around the team’s commercial rights.
Speaking Wednesday at the Hilton in Brisbane, where the Lionesses are staying, Bronze said: “It’s the first time as a player group we’ve actually ever sent the message out ourselves, that we’ve collectively done it together.
Bronze added: “It was important for us to share our voice — that people know that it’s something we feel is important to us, making changes in women’s football both on and off the pitch.
We want women’s football to be in a better place and not just for ourselves but for the future of the game and long past when I’m retired.”
The Lionesses are halting discussions until after the tournament with Bronze insisting that discussions have not interfered with tournament preparation. Coach Sarina Wiegman is not involved in the talks.
“Our focus has been solely on training, being focused at meetings and when we have had time to do other things, we’ve been able to do that as well. We’ve managed our time perfectly”.
The Lionesses begin their campaign against Haiti on Saturday but reiterated their desire to reach a long-term deal with talks having been ongoing since before the European Championships last year.
England’s long-term captain Leah Williamson, who is missing the World Cup due to an ACL injury sustained in April, has been assisting the squad with the negotiations.
“Leah has been kept up to date, she’s the captain of the team,” Bronze said. “And she’s had her input as well. It’s a little bit different, because she’s not here with the group for the World Cup. Some of the conversations are specifically about this tournament. But in terms of the bigger picture, Leah’s been involved in absolutely everything.”
Bronze confirmed that she had also sought advice from other powerhouse women’s football advocates on the issue.
“As players, we are working collectively together. A couple of months ago I was sat down speaking to Alex Morgan and Alexia Putellas.
“This isn’t stuff that always goes out in the media. But, as players, it has been amazing. There are links within teams where we share information because we all want to push the game on.
“If there comes a time when we need to write a letter to FIFA, UEFA or whoever, the girls know all around the world we are on the same path to putting the game in a better place.”
The build-up to the World Cup has been dominated by splits between players and their federations. Jamaica, Nigeria, Canada and Spain have all had significant disputes in recent months.
On Monday, the Australia team released a video on social media in which they called for FIFA president Gianni Infantino to guarantee equal prize money by 2027, and also expressed solidarity with teams who were not able to negotiate their own collective bargaining rights.
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