Abuja, Thursday – Blessing Onu, the Chairperson of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee responsible for addressing the financial dispute between the Falcons, Nigeria’s women’s national football team, and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has issued a directive to the NFF. Onu has called upon the football governing body to furnish the committee with payment records related to players and officials of the women’s national team during the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.
Speaking during a session in Abuja, Onu directed pointed questions at Ibrahim Gusau, the President of the NFF, who was present at the committee hearing. Onu demanded transparency in the form of documentation detailing the funding received by the Falcons for their participation in the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Additionally, she requested a comprehensive breakdown of match bonuses and the payment slips for all 23 players and the coaching staff involved. These documents are expected to be provided by the NFF no later than August 30.
In response to the committee’s inquiries, Gusau clarified that no financial support was allocated for the Falcons’ involvement in the 2019 Women’s World Cup. However, he pointed out that in the subsequent 2023 Women’s World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand, a sum of $960,000 was distributed to each of the 32 qualifying countries. This financial assistance, as explained by Gusau, was intended to aid participating countries in preparing their respective teams for the global tournament.
Gusau emphasized that the funds designated by FIFA for preparation could not be retroactively utilized to settle outstanding allowances from the 2019 Women’s World Cup. He outlined that the NFF usually obtained funding from both the Confederation of African Football and FIFA, asserting that no monetary support was received from the Federal Government to cover their staff and officials’ expenses. Instead, he noted that the operational costs of the federation were met through funds allocated by FIFA.
Highlighting the financial dynamics further, Gusau indicated that the Confederation of African Football allocated an annual subvention of $250,000 to the NFF.
The session took a tense turn when Onu expressed her concern that Gusau was obstructing the committee’s investigation into allegations of unpaid allowances and entitlements for the Falcons. This concern arose following reports of Gusau’s apparent refusal to honor invitations from the ad hoc committee. Onu’s statement reflected her belief that the NFF President’s actions were hindering the committee’s ability to thoroughly examine the issues brought to light.
As the investigation continues, the call for transparency and accountability remains at the forefront, with the House of Representatives ad hoc committee determined to ascertain the facts and ensure fair treatment for the players and officials involved.