Matildas players earn only $21,000 a year — below the minimum wage.
The simmering industrial dispute between the nation's football (soccer) players and the Football Federation Australia (FFA) over pay and the right to collectively bargain has now boiled over with the national women's team, the Matildas, pulling out of a planned tour of the US.
The industrial action comes as the FFA refuses to negotiate an agreement with the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) to meet player demands.
PFA Chief Executive Adam Vivian informed FFA of the players’ decision immediately after a September 9 mass meeting of Matildas players.
“The players feel they have been left with no option other than to take this course of action,” Vivian said. “The offer from FFA was simply unacceptable. The players stance will not change until a new agreement is reached.
“The A-League and Socceroos players have also expressed their full support for the Matildas in their pursuit of a deal that respects their contribution to the game.”
Male players in the Socceroos and the A-League are also fighting for a decent collective agreement with the FFA, but the Matildas are starting from a far lower starting point in their campaign for decent pay.
Most Matildas earn $21,000 a year on FFA contracts, which is below the minimum wage. In the recent Women's World Cup, they earned just $500 each in match day fees — compared with the $7500 their male counterparts earned for World Cup appearances. FFA chief executive David Gallop earns more for his administrative role than all the Matildas squad combined.
Matildas players are also angry the FFA has rejected player demands for maternity leave provisions to be included in the new agreement.
In a September 8 PFA statement, Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams said: “This was an extremely difficult decision to make. However … for the past two months the players have been unpaid and have made every attempt to reach an agreement that gives the women’s game a platform for growth. This is about the future of Australian football.”