Lucy Bronze admits its ‘super sad’ players have to fight for bonus and pay rights at Women’s World Cup

LUCY BRONZE says England’s players feel “empowered” after going public with their fury over unresolved World Cup bonus pay talks.

And she insists the Lionesses will not allow the row to distract from their attempt to win this year’s tournament.

PALucy Bronze says England aces want to set standards on bonus pay for Lionesses at future World Cups[/caption]

GettyBronze insists off pitch issues concerning bonuses will not distract England at this year’s tournament[/caption]

GettyBronze says players have been feeling powered by their actions[/caption]

The England ace was speaking a day after Sarina Wiegman’s 23-strong squad issued a statement announcing a pause in bonus pay talks with the FA.

For the first time in its history, prize money from Fifa for the contest will be paid directly to England’s aces and other national players.

The Euros champs have been in discussions with the FA about a top up from the association – but have so far been left frustrated.

The statement, shared on Tuesday and flagging their dismay over talks stalling, was signed by all of Wiegman’s aces.

Bronze said: “The players are feeling very empowered.

“I think it’s the first time as a player group we’ve actually ever sent the message out ourselves that we’ve collectively done together.

“It’s super sad that we have these issues. This was something that we spoke about as an England group.

“We’re not only doing this for ourselves, we’re doing it so that we can set a standard. 

“People tend to focus on numbers. We’re talking about the principle of pushing the game on, of keeping pushing the standards higher and higher.

“That it’s not just about what the figures are, but about what this represents

“It’s unfortunate that it has come before the World Cup, but at the same time, it’s because the World Cup gives us the big stage.

“It’s when people want to listen to us, it’s when things really matter.”

England’s statement comes a day after Australia’s squad slammed the disparity in World Cup prize money between men’s and sides in a video released this week.

The Matildas, who play the Republic of Ireland in the World Cup’s opener in Sydney today, also highlighted that some nations are hampered due to having no collective bargaining rights.

Bronze added: “So many teams are coming out and speaking about it.

“That because this (the World Cup) is the only moment that they get the stage or the opportunity to speak out, which is unfortunate. 

“We see in the game that we’re all empowering each other to set the standards higher, whether it’s the US, the England team, the Aussies, Jamaica.

“We’re all empowering each other to push the game – not just our own teams, but the entire game.”

England will play Haiti for the first time in a World Cup tournament in their opening Group D clash on Saturday. 

And Bronze insists Wiegman’s side have been able to maintain focus ahead of the game at Brisbane Stadium.

The Lioness veteran added: “I wouldn’t say it’s been frustrating and it’s taken our attention away (from training).  

“We’ve managed it very well. I think even Sarina said that herself, though she’s not been involved (in this). 

“Our focus has solely been on training when we’ve had to train. We’ve managed our time perfectly.”   

While a knee injury has seen Leah Williamson left out of the World Cup, Bronze revealed the England captain is involved in the team’s performance pay demands.

PALeah Williamson has been involved in Lionesses’ handling of talks with the FA over bonus pay[/caption]

Bronze said: “Even before she was captain, she was involved in a lot of conversations because she has such great importance in what needs to be improved.”

On whether England would be open to downing tools over the dispute, Bronze said: “We haven’t made any threats as players. 

“We know how to stand our ground – I can’t say the conversations ever got to be that heated.”

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