Women footballers win groundbreaking deal, large pay rise

Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC play in the W-League.

Women footballers in Australia, playing in the W-League, will receive a sizeable pay rise and improved employment conditions after a landmark collective bargaining agreement announced on September 11 between Football Federation Australia, W-League clubs and the players’ union, the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA).

Under the new two-year agreement, the average retainer for a W-League player will more than double, rising from $6909 to $15,500 for the 2017/18 season.The PFA said the agreement means 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.

The PFA said: “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 [and] key principles for the first ever formal maternity policy for Westfield W-League players.”

PFA Chief Executive John Didulica said: “This deal is foundational ... 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.”

Kate Gill, PFA Relations Executive and former captain of the Australian women’s team, the Matildas, said: “From the age of 4, I only ever wanted to be one thing, a professional footballer ... Like those who came before me, my journey is in stark contrast to what lies ahead for today’s aspiring young female footballers. The dream that I had is in many ways now a reality...

“Women’s football now has a future.”

Despite the significant gains, the disparity between the women’s and men’s game remains large. The Herald Sun reported in December that the average A-League salary was $180,000 — more than 11 times their W-League counterparts.

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