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S. Africa women’s World Cup team pay dispute resolved

South Africa’s 2023 women’s World Cup squad will on Wednesday travel to New Zealand after a dispute with the national association highlighting gender pay gaps in the country was resolved.

The Motsepe Foundation, founded by Confederation of African Football (CAF) president and billionaire Patrice Motsepe and his wife Precious Motsepe, pledged funds to resolve the  dispute.

Squad members had said their contracts did not include the $30,000 (27,500 euros) appearance fee promised by FIFA to each of the 23 players.

The spat caused a renewed conversation around gender pay gaps in sports in the country. 

Speaking at a press conference in Johannesburg, Precious Motsepe said that “this moment is about us paying lip-service when it comes to gender equality” saying it has mostly been “rhetoric” with no action.

“It takes every single one of us to ensure gender equality becomes a reality.”

Each player will receive a 230,000 rand bonus in addition to the FIFA fee, the South African Football Players Union announced at the press briefing.

“We must present our case on behalf of this national pride to say they too deserve what Bafana Bafana (senior men’s national team) deserve, what the Springboks deserve,” sports minister Zizi Kodwa said at the same conference. 

Australia and New Zealand are co-hosting the World Cup from July 20 and African champions South Africa, Morocco, Nigeria and Zambia are representing the continent. 

The squabble resulted in Banyana Banyana (The Girls) not playing a send-off match against Botswana near Johannesburg last Sunday. A hastily assembled team of South African lower league players lost 5-0. 

Precious Motsepe encouraged the squad to continue to “speak up” about gender inequalities. 

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