Why we backed Matil­das’ pay deal

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - TOM SMITHIES

PREMIER League star Mat Ryan says Matil­das play­ers de­serve the same pay as the Soc­ceroos be­cause they are do­ing the “same work that re­quires the same level of sac­ri­fice”.

Ryan is one of the four se­nior Soc­ceroos of re­cent times who helped to drive the land­mark equal pay deal so men and women na­tional teams earn equal amounts for rep­re­sent­ing Aus­tralia.

As the Soc­ceroos be­gan to gather in Am­man, Jor­dan, ahead of their World Cup qual­i­fier there on Thurs­day night, the re­ver­ber­a­tions of the pay deal are still be­ing felt.

Ryan, the Brighton and Hove Al­bion goal­keeper who has spo­ken at length of the for­ma­tive in­flu­ence of his mother grow­ing up, said the work in­volved for both na­tional teams was the same.

“We be­lieve strongly that the fe­male play­ers de­serve what we de­serve,” Ryan said. “They are great peo­ple, role mod­els and ath­letes, we don’t see any dif­fer­ence be­tween us and them.

“Ul­ti­mately, any­thing that can be done in or­der to al­low any­one rep­re­sent­ing our great coun­try to reach their full po­ten­tial and give the best chance to be suc­cess­ful in do­ing so, I’ll al­ways be in sup­port of and this does that.”

Ryan and his team­mates are ar­riv­ing in Am­man to pre­pare to face Jor­dan in the most test­ing en­counter in this first phase of World Cup qual­i­fy­ing.

Play­ers from the US women’s team that won the World Cup have been in touch with their Aussie coun­ter­parts to seek de­tails of the pay struc­ture ahead of their le­gal case against the US Soc­cer Fed­er­a­tion.

The Amer­i­can women will seek a far greater re­ward when their class ac­tion comes to court in May, after con­tin­ued at­tempts at me­di­a­tion failed.

As part of it, the Soc­ceroos will take a small cut to their match fees for each game they play, and will re­ceive a smaller share of com­mer­cial in­come and prize money in the future in or­der to bal­ance what they re­ceive with the Matil­das.

But there has been unan­i­mous sup­port for the deal among the men since it was first floated be­fore last year’s world Cup, and then pre­sented to them by PFA chief ex­ec­u­tive John Didulica in more de­tail in Septem­ber last year, at Gra­ham Arnold’s first camp as head coach in Turkey.

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