SYDNEY: Women footballers playing for Australia’s national team will earn the same as their male counterparts under a deal unveiled on Wednesday and hailed as landmark for gender equality in sport.
Under a new centralised contract system announced by Football Federation Australia (FFA), Matildas stars such as Sam Kerr and Ellie Carpenter will be paid an equal amount as big-name Socceroos like Aaron Mooy and Mat Ryan.
They will also be afforded business class flights to international fixtures and tournaments, like the men.
The breakthrough will be a big boost for America’s women footballers, who have filed an equal pay lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation due to be heard in May next year.
The United States triumphed at the Women’s World Cup in France this year with chants of “equal pay” ringing out after they defeated the Netherlands in the final.
“Football is the game for everyone, and this new collective bargaining agreement is another huge step toward ensuring that we live the values of equality, inclusivity and opportunity,” said FFA chairman Chris Nikou.
‘What we always dreamed of’
Under the four-year deal, through the next World Cup cycles, the Socceroos and Matildas will receive a 24 per cent share of national team revenues, rising by one per cent each year.
In other words, the better they do, the more they get paid.
FFA chief David Gallop said it was the “Socceroos’ choice to share the revenue”, and national captain Mark Milligan said women were getting “what they deserve”.
“It’s been clear for everybody how much the women’s game has grown over the past few years and how well our Matildas have been doing,” he said, adding that the success of the World Cup in France, where the Matildas were knocked out on penalties in the last 16, underscored this.
“It really drove home for me in these negotiations that they got what they deserved. Going forward, what a value they are to the Australian football community.”
From the national revenues, the players have agreed to plough five per cent back into Australian youth national teams, guaranteeing a minimum level of investment for future generations. There has also been an increase from 30 to 40 per cent in players’ share of prize money earned on qualifying for a World Cup.
Matildas midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight said the deal showed “respect” towards women. “As a female footballer, it’s kind of what we always dreamed of,” she said.
It follows a more general deal struck earlier this year that will see all professional female footballers in Australia receive the same minimum wage as their male counterparts.