Australia’s women footballers get landmark equal pay deal

Australia has emerged as a champion for equality in the sports arena with netballers and women cricketers also winning better pay deals in recent years. (AFP)
Updated 06 November 2019

Australia’s women footballers get landmark equal pay deal

  • Matildas stars such as Sam Kerr and Ellie Carpenter will be paid an equal amount as big-name Socceroos like Aaron Mooy and Mat Ryan
  • The breakthrough will be a big boost for America’s women footballers, who have filed an equal pay lawsuit

SYDNEY: Women footballers playing for Australia’s national team will earn the same as their male counterparts under a deal unveiled Wednesday and hailed as landmark for gender equality in sport.
Under a new centralized contract system announced by Football Federation Australia (FFA), Matildas stars such as Sam Kerr and Ellie Carpenter will be paid an equal amount as big-name Socceroos like Aaron Mooy and Mat Ryan.
They will also be afforded business class flights to international fixtures and tournaments, like the men.
The breakthrough will be a big boost for America’s women footballers, who have filed an equal pay lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation due to be heard in May next year.
The United States triumphed at the Women’s World Cup in France this year with chants of “equal pay” ringing out after they defeated the Netherlands in the final.
“Football is the game for everyone, and this new collective bargaining agreement is another huge step toward ensuring that we live the values of equality, inclusivity and opportunity,” said FFA chairman Chris Nikou.
Under the four-year deal, through the next World Cup cycles, the Socceroos and Matildas will receive a 24 percent share of national team revenues, rising by one percent each year.
In other words, the better they do, the more they get paid.
FFA chief David Gallop said it was the “Socceroos’ choice to share the revenue,” and national captain Mark Milligan said women were getting “what they deserve.”
“It’s been clear for everybody how much the women’s game has grown over the past few years and how well our Matildas have been doing,” he said, adding that the success of the World Cup in France, where the Matildas were knocked out on penalties in the last 16, underscored this.
“It really drove home for me in these negotiations that they got what they deserved. Going forward, what a value they are to the Australian football community.”
From the national revenues, the players have agreed to plow five percent back into Australian youth national teams, guaranteeing a minimum level of investment for future generations.
There has also been an increase from 30 to 40 percent in players’ share of prize money earned on qualifying for a World Cup.
Matildas midfielder Elize Kellond-Knight said the deal showed “respect” toward women.
“As a female footballer, it’s kind of what we always dreamed of,” she said.
It follows a more general deal struck earlier this year that will see all professional female footballers in Australia receive the same minimum wage as their male counterparts.
Professional Footballers Australia chief John Didulica called the agreement “unique” in world football.
“We believe it sets the model for where all federations and players — male and female — can take the game to unlock the incredible social and commercial opportunity that, in particular, women’s football presents,” he said.
Australia has emerged as a champion for equality in the sports arena with netballers and women cricketers also winning better pay deals in recent years.
Earlier this year, 17 sporting chief executives in Australia all threw their weight behind a drive to close the pay gap and advance all aspects of women’s sport.
Only last month, the International Cricket Council announced a 320 percent increase in prize money for the women’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia next year.
It still left women earning less than men at a similar tournament, prompting Cricket Australia to pledge it would make up the difference to ensure parity with the men’s winnings for its team.
A handful of other sports have also moved to address gender inequality, with the World Surf League for the first time this year paying equal prize money following a backlash on social media.
Tennis was a leader in introducing equal pay for women at the Grand Slams, with the Williams sisters among the most outspoken on pay parity.


Saudi esports world cup winner a ‘class’ role model for young players: Gaming chief

Updated 15 November 2019

Saudi esports world cup winner a ‘class’ role model for young players: Gaming chief

  • Prince Faisal said the fast pace of technological advances was changing not only how people lived but their view of sport.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup winner Mosaad Al-Dossary was the kind of role model young players should be looking to emulate, according to the Kingdom’s esports gaming chief.

President of the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronics and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS), Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, told Arab News he was “proud” of Al-Dossary for his esports achievements and for showing “his class as a human being.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the Misk Global Forum, in Riyadh, the prince said the fast pace of technological advances was changing not only how people lived but their view of sport.

Equating esports to traditional sports, he stressed it was important that young people moderated their time playing video competitions. 

“Moderation in everything,” he quoted his father as telling him.

“Everything has its positives, within reason. I don’t expect our professional (esports) players to be playing for 18 hours a day. What we advocate is having good mental health, social health as well as good physical health.”

Prince Faisal said it was important that youth chose their heroes carefully, and Al-Dossary was an example of the perfect role model. 

“I’m proud of him for all of his many accomplishments in gaming, but I’m prouder of who he is as a person.”

He noted that during Al-Dossary’s winning participation in the Manchester FUT Champions Cup, in the UK, one of the tournament’s young competitors had fallen ill and was taken to hospital. Al-Dossary had ducked out of victory celebrations to go and visit his sick opponent, taking with him the green scarf awarded to world cup qualifiers which he left on the young man’s bedside table as a gift.

“I’m prouder of him for doing that, brightening up his opponent’s day, than I am of him winning the world cup,” the prince said. 

“He showed his class as a human being, not as an esports player. And that’s what we expect of all of our athletes and all of our young kids across all industries and sports.

“That’s the caliber of person that we have in Saudi, in our communities and that’s what I want to showcase to the world.”

Prince Faisal admitted that online harassment could be a problem, but said it was a global issue that could only be solved through education.

“There are errors, and esports and gaming is a new era, and it’s a new era of accessibility. Along with that comes a learning curve and an education curve,”he added.