FIFA, the world governing body of football, has expressed its “deep concern” about images of the Congolese Under-20 women’s national team that have recently surfaced on social media.
Before an Under-20 World Cup qualifier, the global soccer players’ union FIFPRO posted video footage that appeared to show a team training in the street.
The video, which FIFPRO posted to its official Twitter page on Thursday, shows the team performing a passing drill on a dirt road with cars and motorcycles passing by, according to FIFPRO. The drill is interrupted at one point when a yellow van drives down the road between the players.
“Player welfare is a top priority for FIFA and we have taken immediate steps with authorities in the country, including FECOFA [the Congolese Federation of Football Association], to guarantee the safety and welfare of all players involved,” said FIFA in a statement sent to CNN.
FECOFA, according to the players’ union FIFPRO, did not reserve enough pitch time for the team’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Cameroon on September 25, which the team lost 4-0 at home.
FIFPRO wrote at the end of the video, which it said was taken by a member of the public, “This is unacceptable.”
The treatment of female footballers in Africa, particularly in terms of finances, has long been a source of contention on the continent.
The Congolese FA (FECOFA) has not responded to CNN’s repeated requests for comment in recent days. CNN was unable to verify the video’s content.
“The players’ union in Congo is in contact with them. They are fine and have returned to their homes, despite their dissatisfaction with the national federation’s treatment of them “CNN received a statement from FIFPRO.
“The union has also written a formal letter of complaint about their treatment to the Congolese FA,” the statement said.
When asked for comment, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) referred CNN to FECOFA and FIFA, the world governing body of football.
After being postponed since 2020, the women’s Under-20 World Cup is set to take place in Costa Rica next year.
After losing 5-0 to Cameroon in the return match, the latter will now face Nigeria in the next round.