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Sixty thousand dollars for sixty players: union plan to grow women’s soccer

Women’s soccer is set to receive a major boost on Tuesday when the players’ union releases a road map that envisages the top 60 players in the W-League being paid a minimum of $60,000 a year.
Nanjing Night Net

Professional Footballers Australia has been working on its future development program for several months and has outlined many steps that must be put in place for the sport to grow.

The W-League is one of the higher standard women’s competitions in the world but in comparison to many other leagues the players are paid a pittance, and it lacks promotion and financial support.

Only Melbourne City, who have won back-to-back titles in the two seasons they have been in the league, have anything approaching a professional set-up although not all of their players are full-timers.

The rise of AFL Women’s, cricket’s Women’s Big Bash League and the rebranding of the netball competition, with the involvement of football clubs Collingwood, GWS Giants and Melbourne Storm, has put the focus on women’s sport.

The public has shown that it will watch women play at the highest level,  both at live events and on television, and that has put the onus on long-established women’s competitions like the Women’s National Basketball League and the W-League to lift their game.

Soccer is by far the highest participation sport in the country for children of both sexes under the age of 16, and the rise in the number of girls and young women playing in the past two decades has been impressive.

But this has yet to be reflected in funding of the game’s resources nor payments for the players. The minimum W-League wage is $2500 per year, while top Matildas players receive at least $42,000. They can top this up with extra payments from their W-League teams and overseas contracts. There are estimated to be 30 players in the W-League who earn $60,000 or more from all sources.

Despite those disincentives the Matildas are one of the top sides in the world and are regular qualifiers for the World Cup and the Olympic Football tournaments, while many of the leading Australian players have succeeded in establishing themselves in the professional leagues in the USA and Europe.

There are also fears that the greater publicity for the AFL women’s competition, and the kudos and promotional opportunities that may arise from being involved in that sport, could be a siren call for players of other sports, soccer included, to switch codes.

The PFA and the game’s rulers, the FFA, have always argued, however, that soccer, with its global links, offers more opportunity for athletic young women than a sport like footy does: the PFA report will seek to show why.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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