Sports fraternity welcomes ANFA’s decision for equal pay

Sports fraternity welcomed All Nepal Football Association’s decision of equal pay for men and women national team members.

The ANFA Executive Committee on Thursday decided to provide 20 members of both the national teams with Rs 18,000 apiece per month from January next year. The move saw Rs 11,000 increment in women’s monthly allowances, while the men’s team members got a raise of Rs 3,000.

The ANFA had started paying the women’s national team members with Rs 5,000 since 2014 and it was raised to Rs 7,000 five years ago. At the same time, the men’s national team members got Rs 15,000. The ANFA’s decision on Thursday ended the disparity and it also became the first national association to do so.

The ANFA also received a heave of praise from sports fraternity.

National Sports Council Member Secretary Ramesh Kumar Silwal thanked the ANFA for the decision.

“It will not only end the disparity among the men and women players, it will also motive players,” said the sports’ governing body chief. “I have also asked the ANFA to increase the number of tournament as the gap is huge.”

Silwal also urged other associations to follow the ANFA footsteps.

“Our constitution also guarantees equality between men and women, so we have to end all such disparities,” he added.

Cricket Association of Nepal is the only other national association which pays salaries to the national team members.

Nepal Olympic Committee President Jeevan Ram Shrestha said all the players were same and the International Olympic Committee also believes in equality.

“It’s a welcome move from ANFA and it has given a positive message to the society. We cannot think of any disparity among players in the 21st century,” said Shrestha.

Taekwondo queen Sangina Baidya said the move came after a strong lobby from the women’s committee. “It’s a good move from ANFA and we always felt that the women players were no different to men,” said Baidya, who is also the member of the ANFA Women’s Committee.

“We are happy that we were able to get the equal salary for the women players and the decision has now added pressure on them to do well in future,” added the first Nepali athlete to qualify for Olympics.

National women’s team skipper Renuka Nagarkote could not believe the new in the beginning. “I could not believe when I saw the news in social media,” said Nagarkote.

“It’s not about a heavy raise to Rs 18,000 per month. It’s all about equal pay for men and women players,” she said. “It’s our time to pay back and perform on the field.”

Star striker Sabitra Bhandari thanked the ANFA for finally making it happen. “A lot of senior players fought for equality in the past but we are lucky that it happened in our time,” said Bhandari. “Now there will be a tough competition among players to be a part of the national team. And that will definitely increase the quality level,” she said.

“The ANFA move has added responsibility on us as well. First, we cannot afford to stay second in South Asia now,” added Bhandari.

Midfielder Anita Basnet was excited with the move and hoped that the ANFA would also increase the number of tournaments for better results. “We get to play just two tournaments in a year and that is not enough for excelling in international arena.”

National cricket team skipper Rubina Chhetry said the ANFA set an example towards equality. “I am very much excited with the decision and believe that other associations would also follow the footsteps,” said Chhetry.

“ANFA became the first association to initiate the system of paying equal salary to men and women players and I am thankful towards the officials. And it has given us strength to raise voice for equality,” added Chhetry.

National basketball team skipper Sadina Shrestha hoped her association would also learn from the ANFA decision. “It’s a very welcome decision from ANFA.

May be ANFA is a rich body and they are paying equal salary to all the players. We are yet to feel the pleasure of getting salary from our association,” she said. “The ANFA move has given us a ray of hope that the NSC would take initiation to start the same in other associations.”

ANFA President Karma Tsering Sherpa said the long-time plan was formulated by the executive committee. “We had a plan to keep women’s football in priority before the elections and we were not able to do so due to budget crunch after we came in power,” said Sherpa, who took over the top ANFA post in 2018.

“The women’s football is on the rise and we cannot afford to have the disparity,” he added. The ANFA meeting has also decided to pay allowance to the immediate past skipper of both the national sides for a year.