The Matildas are looking for a big World Cup win off the field over pay equity. (AAP: Daniel Pockett)
Professional Footballers Australia has upped its bid for equity in prizemoney between the men’s and women’s World Cups, launching a campaign to make the case.
- Australia’s football players union, the PFA, has launched a campaign seeking equal pay for men and women at World Cup level
- Each team that went out at the group stage in last year’s men’s FIFA Men’s World Cup got $11.47 million each — the winner of the Women’s World Cup will get $5.74 million
- The PFA has gone public with a campaign website, calling for an immediate doubling of total prizemoney to $82 million
And it says it’s prepared to take FIFA to court if it won’t lift payments to female footballers, on the back of public support.
Teams at the 2019 Women’s World Cup will be fighting for just 7.5 per cent of the purse handed out at the 2018 men’s World Cup in Russia.
The disparity means even if the Matildas win the tournament, they’ll be paid half of what the Socceroos earned last year for their group stage exit.
The players union says FIFA can afford to bump up the women’s pay with reserves of $US2.75 billion ($3.95 billion) in the bank.
The world governing body also pays its two top executives, president Gianni Infantino and general secretary Fatma Samoura, more as an annual wage — $US4.1 million ($5.9 million) combined — than the winners in France will receive: $US4 million ($A5.8 million).
On behalf of the Matildas, PFA chief executive John Didulica has engaged FIFA for the last year on the issue with a back-and-forth of correspondence.
After failing to gain support from FIFA, they’ve turned their private campaign into a public call to arms, launching a website — www.ourgoalisnow.com — on the eve of the tournament.
PFA has asked for an immediate doubling of total prize money — from $US30 million ($A43 million) to $US57 million ($A82 million).
“It is the players themselves who are the victims of the discrimination,” Didulica writes.
“The PFA expressly reserves the rights of the players to have this matter resolved through appropriate means including mediation and arbitration. There is no legal, economic or practical reason why this cannot occur after the tournament.”
The PFA tweet: Our journey is one of struggle. Our sisters have given us strength. But our fight goes on. #OurGoalIsNow #WorldCupEquality ourgoalisnow.com
The total prize money on offer in France this month is $US30 million ($A43 million), compared with $US400 million ($A575 million) given to men’s teams in Russia.
The Matildas will personally campaign for the move on social media, and ask fellow participants in France to do the same.
“I’m so proud of the PFA for taking the initiative,” Australian midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight said.
“We’re the one association that have put our hand up and said, ‘this isn’t right, is anyone going to do anything about it?’
“We’ll put funds into it. We’ll will put the time, the effort, the resources, and we’ll investigate it will put a case together and see what sort of support we can get.
“I hope that it gets the backing and the recognition it deserves. It’s a legitimate case that we’re putting forward.”
Australian shot-stopper Lydia Williams says it is time for recognition of the need for pay equity between men’s and women’s World Cups. (AP: Eugenio Savio)
Goalkeeper Lydia Williams agreed.
“Now’s the time. Female sports are on the rise,” she said.
“To have a World Cup final sell out in half an hour in female sport is ridiculous.
“It’s crazy. And we need more support.”
All prize money is received by member federations.
The Matildas have agreed with FFA to share 30 per cent of any prize money won in France, split equally among the 23 squad members.
It means each player will receive somewhere between $US9,800 ($A14,000) (for a group stage exit) and $US52,000 ($A74,700) (if they win) for their efforts in France.
US women’s team already challenging pay structures
The US women’s soccer team’s bonus for winning the 2015 World Cup was $5.16 million less than the men’s team did for making the last eight in 2014. (Reuters: Mike Segar)
The Matildas are not the only team seeking a resolution of the pay gap.
On International Women’s Day, players filed a discrimination lawsuit against the federation, alleging ongoing “institutionalised gender discrimination” including unequal pay with their counterparts on the men’s national team.
In 2014 the federation gave the men’s squad a bonus of the equivalent of $7.6 million for making the World Cup quarter-finals, while the women’s side received a bonus of $2.44 million for winning the 2015 edition of their World Cup — the third time they had won the competition.
When the US men’s team qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in the first place, each player received a $78,000 bonus. When the women’s team made it to the World Cup in Canada the following year, they got $21,000 each.