England manager Sarina Wiegman insisted she has not waded into a rumoured row surrounding World Cup bonuses.
Wiegman’s side open their campaign in earnest on July 22 when they face Haiti in Brisbane, but they will first take on FIFA world number-seven ranked Olympic champions Canada behind closed doors on Friday at Queensland’s Sunshine Coast stadium.
Some reports ahead of England’s arrival Down Under claimed the Lionesses were unhappy with the Football Association about performance-based payments, but Wiegman was adamant it has not been a topic of discussion in camp.
“Players haven’t spoken to me about it,” she told Sky Sports. “We’ve been focusing on football and that is what I have seen.
“They’re focused on football in meetings. I don’t see any problems. I know that it is something that needs to be solved and I hope for a quick solution.
“I am not involved in those discussions. I hope it’s solved quickly before the tournament starts.”
Under a new model, players will receive payments directly from FIFA, with amounts increasing the deeper teams go in the tournament. They range from 30,000 US dollars (£23,367) per athlete for the group stage to USD 270,000 (£210,305) allotted to each champion.
Previously, it was up to individual national governing bodies to decide how money was allocated. Some federations have agreed to additional payments in 2023, though multiple reports have suggested the FA has no current plans to do the same.
The PA news agency has contacted the FA for comment.
The Dutch boss, who led England to their first major trophy at last summer’s home Euros, was more forthcoming when asked how her team feels about FIFA’s solution to the ‘One Love’ armband debate that swirled around the men’s World Cup in Qatar last autumn.
Captains of the nations involved in the ‘One Love’ campaign, including England and Wales, were threatened with sporting sanctions starting at a yellow card if the rainbow bands were worn, because they would have been a breach of FIFA equipment regulations.
The bands were seen as a potent symbol of tolerance in a country where same-sex relationships are criminalised.
Instead, FIFA has partnered with the UN to create eight stakeholder-sanctioned armbands that can be swapped out or worn throughout the month-long tournament co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
Alongside inclusion, the other causes being highlighted are ‘unite for indigenous peoples’, ‘unite for gender equality’, ‘unite for peace’, ‘unite for education for all’, ‘unite for zero hunger’, ‘unite for ending violence against women’ and ‘football is joy, peace, love, hope and passion’.
Team captains will also have the option to wear a ‘football unites the world’ armband for the entire tournament, if they do not wish to choose a single cause or support different causes round by round.
None directly advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, of which a record number of players in the 2023 World Cup – including some Lionesses – are a part, so the decision has drawn some criticism.
Wiegman added: “I think the players are happy with the solution. I think first of all it is good there is a solution ahead of the tournament.
“I think that with the armband, the team can have a voice and now it is up to the team what armband they want to wear. I think we are in a really good place with it.
“The players will decide and they will live by their values anyway. And we as staff will support them in any choice they make.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub