Just months after reaching the nation’s first-ever Women’s World Cup, the Jamaican women’s national team has refused to play or train, claiming they have not been paid.
The notice became public as midfielder Khadija Shaw posted on Instagram that the team is “in a position where we we are literally fighting just to get paid by legal agreements.”
Jamaica became the first Caribbean team to reach the World Cup this summer and scored a goal in its group stage finale in a 4-1 loss to Australia. The team also competed at this summer’s Pan American games and finished seventh, beating Peru 1-0 in its final match.
“This ain’t just about money, it’s about change, change in the way women football is viewed especially in Jamaica,” Shaw wrote on Instagram. “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.”
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First Caribbean team to qualify for a World Cup. We have made a lot of sacrifices to wear the colors of Jamaica. We have respected and worn the colors with pride. We are in a position where we are literally fighting just to get paid by legal agreements. 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.
Defender Allyson Swaby also posted the same graphic on her account, writing, “The monetary incentives can be small and are often not a reflection of the time and dedication we put into our sport. We fought for change and became the first Jamaican women’s football team to sign contracts with our federation. These contracts symbolize the respect we deserve and intend to receive.”
Neither Swaby or Shaw were on the Pan American Games roster – which consisted of many players who were not part of the World Cup – indicating the possibility of internal turmoil for some time before things went public.
The team’s qualification for the 2019 Women’s World Cup alone was a fantastic achievement, given the recent history of the Jamaican team. In 2010, the country cut funding for the women’s team, leaving it unable to participate in World Cup qualifiers and unranked by FIFA. A fundraising campaign resurrected the side in 2014 and only returned to the FIFA rankings in 2018 during the run to World Cup qualification.