The discontent about inequalities in women’s football get louder each day.
If the Matildas don’t play a game until next March, that will mark one year since their Olympic qualifier against Vietnam.
The top-tier Matildas get at least $83,000 guaranteed per annum, not including bonuses and prize money. They have been paid their base salaries in full from March 2020 to July 2020 for their 2019-20 contracts, even though they haven’t played a game since March 11 2020.
The reality is, one Matilda’s contract can cover five W-League minimum wage ($16,344) contracts.
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With 11 Tier 1 players part of the 20 contracted Matildas, that is 55 minimum wages that FFA could help W-League clubs fund.
With no international games scheduled, there is every chance the national team may not play until well into 2021. If their 2020-21 contracts, which commenced this month, stay the same as last season and they get paid in full, that will mean FFA will have paid more than $83,000 each to the top 11 players for not kicking a ball. This is without factoring in the nine or ten Tier 2 ($56,000) and Tier 3 ($40,000) players.
This is a total wage bill of over $1 million.
While no one can blame the players for accepting the money, FFA is sacrificing the greater good of women’s football just to keep the minority happy. The ruling body have not yet committed to when the 2020-21 W-League season will commence.
The biggest issue is that most, if not all, of these contracted internationals are getting paid by their clubs in either Europe or America and won’t feature in the W-League.
This means they will earn decent wages on top of their Australian contracts without actually kicking a ball in this country.
While in normal circumstances this is a great thing, in the current fiscal climate – FFA is losing revenue of $43.5 million this year – it isn’t going down well especially among some A-League club owners who rely heavily on FFA distributions to cover costs.
FFA gives at least $200,000 each year to A-League clubs to fund their W-League program, with over $3.5 million provided each year overall.
Further to this, much of FFA’s $32 million TV deal, struck in July this year, relies on the A-League and W-League to provide content, with the international calendar rather bare until the 2021 Olympics.
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The Tokyo games are now scheduled to take place from 23 July to 8 August. The current TV deal expires around July meaning the likelihood of the Matildas and Olyroos generating revenue for FFA is low.
This problem isn’t an issue for the Socceroos, since they don’t get paid unless they play or make appearances at camps.
FFA have some important decisions to make in the coming months, addressing the inequalities within women’s football is one of them.