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Landmark pay rise for women footballers

Landmark pay rise for women footballers
September 12, 2017

Westfield W-League players will receive a significant pay increase and improved employment conditions following a landmark collective bargaining agreement between Football Federation Australia, the Westfield W-League clubs and Professional Footballers Australia.

Under the new two-year agreement, all players, other than those on scholarships, are guaranteed a minimum retainer of at least $10,000 for the coming season and $12,200 for the 2018/19 season, with no prescribed maximum cap on any one player’s retainer. The average retainer for Westfield W-League Players is expected to rise from $6,909 to $15,500 for Season 2017/18.

Previously, many players were considered amateur and received only reimbursement of expenses. The new agreement provides contracting certainty, larger roster sizes, a significantly increased salary cap, an agreed commercial framework to underpin the growth of the women’s game, enhanced minimum medical standards, key principles for the first ever formal maternity policy for Westfield W-League players and the establishment of a formal partnership with the players through the Professional Women’s Football Committee to drive further employment, performance and competition reform.

While the new agreement sets minimum standards, the highest earning Australian female professionals – those playing in the Westfield W-League, other professional leagues overseas and for the women’s national team, the Matildas, now have the potential to earn at least $130,000 a year.

FFA Chief Executive David Gallop said that while more needed to be done to bridge the gap to what professional males were being paid, this was an important next step for the Westfield W-League.

Gallop explained “this is the start of a new era for professional female footballers in Australia.

“Westfield W-League players deserve this pay rise. They have been trail blazers for women’s sport in Australia and are about to enter their 10th season.

“It is important to acknowledge that this significant improvement has been made possible through the close positive collaboration of the Westfield W-League clubs, Professional Footballers Australia and the players working over many months with FFA.

“I want to thank in particular PFA Chief Executive John Didulica and Player Relations Executive Kate Gill plus Melbourne City FC Chief Executive Scott Munn and Western Sydney Wanderers FC Chief Executive John Tsatsimas who represented the clubs in these negotiations.

“We all share a determination to achieve gender equality in our sport and make it the most attractive option for female Australian athletes.”

The PFA’s John Didulica added “having worked with the W-League players through this process, it has reinforced our view that these players are central to the future and to the fabric of Australian football.

“Like generations of players before them, they have succeeded in discharging their responsibility to leave their sport in a better place for players who follow."

“This deal is foundational. Hand in hand with the club owners and the FFA, it will build a platform to grow the players’ collective hope of building a professional career as a footballer and give the players a clear voice in what that future looks like.”

Some key components of the new CBA include:

• An average pay rise from $6909 to $15,500 in 2017/18, then increasing to $17,400 the following season;
• Football and non-football income protection for injured players;
• A new maternity policy;
• Increased player contract length and contract security with multi-year deals;
• Access to the PFA Player Development Program; and
• Football boots and runners provided.

Women’s football background:

• Almost 250,000 women and girls participate in women’s football in Australia
• The Westfield W-League is entering its 10th season
• The highest paid female players are earning more than $130,000 a year through the Westfield W-League, leagues overseas and Matildas
• The average pay for a Westfield W-League player will be $15,500 in 2017/18 under the new deal rising to $17,400 in the following season. 
• The Westfield W-League salary cap per club will be increased from $150,000 in 2016/17 to $300,000 in 2017/18 and $350,000 in 2018/19.
• Base payer payments are rising from a total of $450,000 in 2016/17 to $1.62 this season and $1.99m for next season.
• Westfield W-League players will have equal access to the Player Development Program (which drives player education, wellbeing and transition in and out of football) created by the Whole of Game CBA which covers the players in the A-League, the Socceroos and the Matildas.
• Players from eight countries, not including Australia, were represented in the Westfield W-League last season including Brazil, Denmark, England, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, USA and Wales.
• Professional Australian female players are competing regularly in overseas leagues including the USA, Germany, China, South Korea, Japan and Norway.
• The Westfield Matildas, Australia’s national women’s football team, is currently ranked 6th in the world and recently defeated the world champion USA team for the first time, Japan and Brazil to win the Tournament of Nations.

Images: W-League action between Perth Glory and Melbourne City (top), David Gallop (middle) and Glory's Sam Kerr and Melbourne City's Steph Catley (below).

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