Millie Bright, captain of the England Women’s national soccer team, has stated that their long-running pay dispute with the English Football Association (FA) has been resolved.
The dispute was primarily centered around issues of pay and bonuses. England Women’s players believed that the FA should pay their bonuses directly from its funds, which was believed to be the source of the disagreement.
It was first reported in July that talks between the FA and the players had broken down over how the players would be paid at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, announced that every player who competed in the tournament’s group stage would receive a base pay of $30,000, with that amount rising based on team success.
The players believed that the FA was using this base payment to avoid awarding performance-related bonuses to the team, who finished eventual runners-up to champions Spain.
It was reported that the FA had argued that any bonuses would detract from the wider base-pay pot, while the players implored the governing body to pay the bonuses from FA funds.
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The Lionesses shelved the pay dispute temporarily for the duration of the World Cup, and now captain Bright stated in a press conference that the two parties had “come to an agreement” after “positive talks.”
Bright said: “It’s bigger than just the bonus, for us it’s about being world leaders on and off the pitch. As we know, the women’s game is evolving very quickly and conversations like this need to happen to ensure that in all areas, we’re at the top of our game.”
Even in defeat in the final, the England Women’s team drew major viewership numbers for their World Cup efforts. The country's defeat in the final drew a peak audience of 12 million viewers for the BBC, the UK’s public-service broadcaster.
In Spain, meanwhile, public-service broadcaster RTVE brought in its highest-ever audience for women's soccer, as 5.6 million tuned in. This equated to 65.7% of the TV viewing share, as Spain secured their first major women's national team trophy.
Beyond the UK alone, the 2023 Women’s World Cup was a major TV draw globally. In August, international pay-TV broadcaster BeIN Sports revealed that its broadcasts of the tournament across the Middle East and North Africa had drawn a cumulative viewership of 93.5 million.
BeIN also reported that its broadcast of the tournament’s final, in which Spain ran out 1-0 victors over England, was watched by almost 5 million viewers.