Jamaican women’s football team go on strike in protest at not being paid for historic World Cup performance

Maya Oppenheim
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Jamaica’s women’s football team have refused to train or play until they have received the pay they are owed for their historic participation in the Women’s World Cup.

The football team, who featured in the tournament for the first time ever in June, vented their frustrations about having not yet received full payment for their efforts.

Forward Khadija Shaw said the refusal to play or train was about more than simply money and called for an overhaul in the way women's football is viewed.

“We have made a lot of sacrifices to wear the colours of Jamaica," she said in an Instagram post. "We have respected and worn the colours with pride. We are in a position where we are literally fighting just to get paid by legal agreements."

She added: “This ain’t just about money, it’s about change, change in the way women football is viewed especially in Jamaica. We deserve more and they can do better. For this reason, I along with my teammates won’t be participating in any future tournaments until being paid.”

The Jamaican Football Federation has said the players have been paid half the amount they were promised – saying the rest of the money will be given by the end of this month.

“As athletes, we play the game wholeheartedly and with commitment. The monetary incentives can be small and are often not a reflection of the time and dedication we put into our sport,” defender Allyson Swaby said in a post on Instagram.

“We fought for change and became the first Jamaican women’s football team to sign contracts with our federation. These contracts symbolise the respect we deserve and intend to receive. For this reason, I along with my team-mates, will not be participating in any games or training sessions until the contract has been fulfilled.”

The hashtag #nopaynoplay has gained increasing traction on social media - with people calling for the team to be paid in full for their performance.

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This is the latest episode in a series of disputes between Jamaican Football Federation and the team, nicknamed the “Reggae Girlz”.

The federation slashed funding to its women’s football team in 2010 who were not able to play for a lengthy period and subsequently lost their Fifa world ranking.

The team is backed by ambassador Cedella Marley, daughter of reggae legend Bob Marley.

The saga comes two days after Zimbabwe’s women’s team boycotted their Olympic qualifier against Zambia due to being owed allowances.

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