Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have stated sheer delight with FIFA’s approval of $2m advance payment of prize money for the World Cup, as the nation’s soccer governing body believes it will help the country’s players ‘focus solely on football on the pitch’ in Russia.
NFF media officer, Ademola Olajire said getting some of the money entitled to the country at the World Cup would help the soccer body pay what the players are entitled to in the build-up programme and early days of their camping at their World Cup base in Russia.
Disputes over payments at previous tournaments “had led to situations that affected badly the image of African football, with a considerable impact on team performances,” he added.
In 2014 the Ghana government had to step in and send cash to Brazil in order to pay players and, who had threatened to go on strike while in 2006 there was a similar threat by Togo in Germany.
The 32 teams taking part in the June-July tournament receive $1.5 million each from Fifa in the form of a preparation fee and are guaranteed a minimum of $8 million more in prize money after the tournament ends.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) president, Ahmad Ahmad said the money would be used “to settle beforehand the question of bonuses due the players.”
Ahmad said the cash will help all five of Africa’s representatives – Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia – prepare for the tournament.
The Super Eagles were involved in a protracted dispute ahead of the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil and a bonus row also disrupted their World Cup campaign in 2014.
Last year, the NFF signed an agreement with its players pledging to avoid the bonus and pay rows that have blighted past World Cup campaigns.
Olajire believes the availability of the advance money from FIFA will help in their quest to avert a bonus row in Russia.
“We’ve had problems in the past and the NFF has already worked out a payment mode for the team, but this money will help put everything into shape.
“It will definitely help our players to focus solely on football on the pitch in Russia and not deal with the distraction of when the bonus will arrive,” Olajire stated.