Members of Australia’s national women’s soccer team are to earn the same as their male counterparts under a deal unveiled yesterday that has been hailed as landmark for gender equality in sport.
Under a new centralized contract system announced by Football Federation Australia (FFA), Matildas stars such as Sam Kerr and Ellie Carpenter would be paid an equal amount as big-name Socceroos like Aaron Mooy and Mat Ryan.
They would also be afforded business-class flights to international fixtures and tournaments, like the men’s team.
The breakthrough will be a big boost for members of the US women’s national soccer team, who have filed an equal pay lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation.
The US triumphed at the FIFA 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,” FFA chairman Chris Nikou said.
Under the four-year deal, through the next FIFA World Cup cycles, the Socceroos and Matildas would receive a 24 percent share of national team revenue, rising by 1 percent each year.
In other words, the better they do, the more they get paid.
From the national revenue, the players have agreed to plow 5 percent 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 percent in players’ share of prize money earned on qualifying for a World Cup.
Midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight said that the deal showed “respect” toward 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 would see all professional female soccer players in Australia receive the same minimum wage as their male counterparts.
Professional Footballers Australia chief executive John Didulica called the agreement “unique” in world soccer.
“We believe it sets the model for where all federations and players — male and female — can take the game to unlock the incredible social and commercial opportunity that, in particular, women’s football presents,” Didulica said.
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