By Neto Baptiste
Former national football coach, Rowan Benjamin, believe that the women’s version of the game here is still in its teething stages and that female players should not be paid to play.
Benjamin, who is also the country’s coordinator of schools’ football, made the comments while speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show on Tuesday, clarifying that he however has no issues with players being given a daily allowance when representing the country.
“I have no issues with a daily allowance or so if they are on a tour or whatever, but we must improve the female stock, we must improve the female game and then everything will fall into place. What I am saying to you is that if they are going to give them, or if the team is going out to play a tournament and they want to give them a basic allowance fee for whatever reason, then I have no problem with that, but we can’t make this big thing about stipend,” he said.
Currently, female players are not given an appearance fee at the national level while the men are paid match allowances.
The Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) however, covers loss of earnings for those players whose employers do not pay wagers for the time players spend representing the national teams.
Benjamin said the women’s version of the game here is too far behind to be considering salaries for players at this point.
“I am saying to you that at this particular time in Antigua and Barbuda, I am saying that the women are not ready as yet to be paid. As soon as the game is stepped up and we see a lot of improvement in their play and bringing people through the gates then, okay. I never said that women should not be paid, I am just saying that at this particular moment, we hardly have a proper female programme,” he said.
Female players have agitated for appearance fees for some time now, but the FA has said it will not pay such fees because of the number of national players currently enrolled in colleges across the globe.