World Cup Money Is Life-changing for Some Players

    09 August 2023

    The players who reached the knockout round of the Women's World Cup received larger individual bonuses than those of the past. The increased earnings can be life-changing for many of the players.

    FIFA, the world's soccer organizing body, pays $30,000 for the 732 players among 32 teams in the 2023 World Cup. The amount rises to $60,000 for players on the 16 teams that advance out of group play.

    The amount grows to $90,000 for players in the quarterfinals. That is a major payday, especially for the many players who have had pay disputes with their soccer organizations.

    FILE - Jamaican players celebrate at the end of the Women's World Cup soccer match between Panama and Jamaica in Perth, Australia, Saturday, July 29, 2023. Jamaica won 1-0. (AP Photo/Gary Day)
    FILE - Jamaican players celebrate at the end of the Women's World Cup soccer match between Panama and Jamaica in Perth, Australia, Saturday, July 29, 2023. Jamaica won 1-0. (AP Photo/Gary Day)

    Hildah Magaia is on South Africa's team, and was a big part of its advance out of group play into the knockout round. The team calls Magaia "Breadwinner." The term is often used to describe someone who earns the money needed to support their family.

    The South African players doubled their payout. Magaia says she plans to use the money to care for her mother.

    "I'll be able to do everything for my mother because I'm the one who's taking care of her," she said. "I'm the breadwinner, so I'll be doing everything for my mom."

    Deneisha Blackwood plays for Jamaica. It lost to Colombia in the knockouts. She said the minimum pay was a good start for her team, which has had serious financial difficulties.

    "A lot of us have bills to pay and family to take care of," Blackwood said, "and I think for the younger generation, especially, football doesn't make you a lot of money. So for (girls) to see us doing what we love and realize that you can make a living off it — it's motivational."

    In June, FIFA said it would provide $110 million in prize money for players of the Women's World Cup. FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the money would be sent to soccer's governing bodies, called federations. They would be responsible for awarding it. Infantino said he could not guarantee that the money would reach the players.

    FIFPRO is an organization that represents international players. The organization said late Tuesday that it was assisting Nigeria's national team players in a dispute with their federation concerning earnings dating back as far as 2021.

    "The team is extremely frustrated that they've had to pursue the Nigeria Football Federation for these payments before and during the tournament," FIFPRO said. "It is regrettable that players needed to challenge their own federation at such an important time in their careers."

    Before the World Cup, South African players boycotted a game against Botswana because bonuses were not included in their contracts. Patrice Motsepe, president of the African Football Confederation, agreed to give $320,000 to the players to be divided equally. The dispute was settled.

    Nigerian player Uchenna Kanu said the money was not the team's main goal --- playing well was.

    "But of course, if we get paid that much money, of course, it'll have a huge impact on our lives," Kanu said. "We have families, we have things to take care of with money. That's important for us as well."

    The total prize money at this Women's World Cup is more than three times the $30 million that was paid out at the 2019 Women's World Cup in France. But it is still far less than the $440 million in prize money for the Men's World Cup in Qatar last year.

    I'm John Russell.

    Anne Peterson reported this story for The Associated Press. Hai Do adapted the story for Learning English.


    Words in This Story

    knockout - n. in soccer, a team is out of the tournament after a loss in the knockout round

    bonus - n. extra amount of money

    advance - v. to move forward

    quarterfinal - n. a round in a competition with four teams left

    minimum - n. the lowest number

    motivational - adj. causing someone to do something

    frustrated - adj. discouraged or upset

    pursue - v. try to get to

    tournament - n. a sports competition

    challenge - v. dispute

    impact - n. major influence