Aus­tralian women play­ers push for higher pay

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Aus­tralia’s women soc­cer play­ers should be of­fered more “at­trac­tive con­di­tions” in­clud­ing higher match fees, their union said Wed­nes­day af­ter the team dumped star-stud­ded Brazil out of the World Cup to reach the quar­ter­fi­nals.

The women’s na­tional team, the Matil­das, will be paid just Aus$750 (US$581) each un­der their cur­rent con­tract when they take on reign­ing cham­pi­ons Ja­pan on Satur­day in Ed­mon­ton, Canada, for a place in the semi­fi­nals.

In con­trast, their male coun­ter­parts are paid Aus$8,500 each when they play in the quar­ter­fi­nals of a com­pa­ra­ble tour­na­ment, ex­clud­ing bonuses, ac­cord­ing to a sep­a­rate agree­ment.

“What we are see­ing at the mo­ment with the Matil­das is that many of them are hav­ing to com­bine their play­ing com­mit­ments with part­time jobs and they’re also try­ing to jug­gle that with study­ing,” a spokesman for the union, Pro­fes­sional Foot­ballers Aus­tralia, told AFP.

“(But) the Matil­das’ com­mit­ments are very much full-time. They’ve been in camp for 120 days over the past six months and they are away from their fam­i­lies so to be able to bal­ance those com­mit­ments with any sort of mean­ing­ful em­ploy­ment is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult.”

The spokesman said the union — which is in ne­go­ti­a­tions with gov­ern­ing body Football Fed­er­a­tion Aus­tralia (FFA) as the cur­rent Matil­das agree­ment ex­pires in July — was push­ing for the play­ers to “re­ceive what is a fair and eq­ui­table share of rev­enue,” although that may not nec­es­sar­ily mean pay equal­ity with the men.

He added that pro­vid­ing more “at­trac­tive terms and con­di­tions” — in­clud­ing for match fees, travel ar­range­ments and ac­com­mo­da­tion — was nec­es­sary to keep top ath­letes in the game and pro­vide a vi­able ca­reer path.

The Matil­das, who are on a min­i­mum an­nual play­ing con­tract of Aus$21,000, were paid Aus$500 each for their Women’s World Cup group matches and will get Aus$1,500 if they make the fi­nal.

The Soc­ceroos — the men’s na­tional team who won the Asian Cup in Syd­ney ear­lier this year — have match pay­ments of Aus$7,500 each for ma­jor tour­na­ment group games, with the fees ris­ing to Aus$11,500 for a fi­nal. They are not given a base pay but re­ceive far greater com­mer­cial pay­ments and spon­sor bonuses.

The FFA said it had in­vested heav­ily in the Matil­das’ World Cup prepa­ra­tions and was push­ing hard to se­cure more spon­sor­ship.

“FFA is work­ing hard to over­come the chal­lenges in se­cur­ing com­mer­cial part­ners for women’s football on top of the com­mit­ment from ( shop­ping cen­ter gi­ant) West­field who sup­port both the W-League and Matil­das,” a state­ment said.

“The re­sults in Canada and the way the play­ers have con­ducted them­selves can only help in se­cur­ing the com­mer­cial sup­port that can drive sig­nif­i­cant growth in ex­pen­di­ture.”

China’s state media Mon­day said their women’s soc­cer team would re­ceive the “high­est ever” bonus of around one mil­lion yuan (US$160,000) as a re­ward for reach­ing the World Cup quar­ter­fi­nals.

Most na­tional team play­ers earn about 3,000 yuan (US$485) a month, be­low the coun­try’s in­come av­er­age of 4,100 yuan, Xin­hua said.

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