- Football Federation Australia
Support the Matildas with a Fair Wage
The Matildas are professional athletes, setting records in Australian soccer.
Unfortunately their pay does not reflect that.
The Matildas, Australia's Women's National Team, are on strike as of this week, after trying to negotiate a fair wage and better conditions. Negotiations have been taking place for six months.
According to an article by Stephanie Convery at The Drum “The Matildas' contracts with Football Federation Australia [FFA] expired at the end of June...The players have not been paid for the last two months”. Talks with the FFA on Tuesday about collective bargaining agreements left the Matildas feeling disrespected and they are now on strike. Their two upcoming sold out friendlies with reigning World Cup Champions USA have been canceled.
Matilda's goalkeeper Lydia Williams was at the negotiations:
"I think hurt is the best way to describe it," Williams said." I think a lot of us felt disrespected today, I don't even think there was any kind of negotiation, I think it was more of a brief meeting and then sent on our way."
- The Australian Women's Soccer Team made it to the quarter finals in this years World Cup, the furthest of any Australian soccer team in history
- They were one of only two teams to score against the tournament winners USA during the whole tournament
- They were knocked out by 2011 tournament winners and 2015 runner up Japan, in a 1-0 match
According to Matildas top goal scorer Kate Gill, in regards to the World Cup prize money:
“They get 30% of the prize money, but the girls are still yet to receive it. I think we're the last country that's received their prize money and they still haven't got it.” The World Cup ended July 5th.
- $21,000 annual salary for tier 1 players
- $500 payments for each international match they play. This is around 1/13th of what the men make.
Women's Soccer Globally
- The World Cup final between USA and Japan averaged 25 Million viewers in America.
- The US Women's National Team made $2 million this year when they won the World Cup. For a bit of comparison, on the men's side when Germany won the world cup last year they made $35 million. The U.S. Men's National Team who was knocked out in the round of 16 made $9 million.
Alicia Lorene Johnson of Bustle sums this up well. “Better pay for women soccer players is a simple matter of equal pay for equal work. And in the case of the USWNT [and the Matildas], it’s a matter of equal pay for better work.”
- The W League is the domestic soccer league where in theory, the Matildas players can supplement their international squad income while playing in Australia.
- An elite player might be able to make $10,000 a season. It's believed that most make around $1,000 to $6,000 per season, while some players are unpaid.
-Unfortunately due to budget cuts to the ABC, the W League doesn't have a TV deal for the upcoming season. A deal has been made with Fox Sports to broadcast one game per week. This would be on cable, meaning it wouldn't be accessible to everyone.
- So basically, the Matildas come back to Australia finishing the highest that an Australian soccer team has ever finished in world cup history and the visibility of their domestic league is deteriorating. It's hard to acquire a fan base when games aren't broadcast. It's also hard for girls to aspire to be something that they don't see.
FFA's Response to Strikes
Football Federation Australia made a comment in response to the Matildas strike:
"It's sad that the Matildas have been dragged into a dispute that’s primarily about the A-League. The offer to the Matildas would basically double their pay over the next four years."
This response shows that they don't value the Matildas. To say that this is primarily about something else is a refusal to acknowledge the work conditions of the Matildas as a problem.
"Basically Double" is under $42,000 annually, that's not the wage of an elite athlete in Australia, and to take 4 years to move from poor to below average is not progress.
According to the ABS, the average full time wage in Australia is $74,724, which makes earning $21,000 a year quite abysmal. Playing an international game for Australia pays very differently depending on your gender, with a woman earning $500 a game and a man earning $6500 a game. So for a single international game a Socceroo makes 13 times more money than a Matilda.
Lucy Zelic of 'The World Game' on SBS tweeted the following:
“The Matildas current proposal to FFA has tier 1 players asking for 43k as a base. If you are over 20 & playing A-League [Australian Men's League], the min wage is $55,000”
One can see how this proposal is modest when the elite women representing their country in international matches are still getting less than the men that play in domestic leagues.
It's More Than Money
- Safety was a concern with the Women's World Cup due to it being played on artificial turf, something the Men's World Cup has never been played on (and which many men outright refuse to play on). There was even a sexual discrimination lawsuit filed against FIFA for requiring only the women to play on turf.
- With fairer wages the Matildas would have better training facilities, training equipment, and improved travel conditions to be equal to the men (direct flights as opposed to numerous layovers), and contract flexibility so they could pursue overseas contracts without losing their jobs.
Talking about the strike Kate Gill said “It's got a reaction and the public are definitely on our side” She went on to describe the strike as a necessary step, which she compared to women's cricket:
“It may be something to obviously get some recognition for women's sport in Australia and start something. I mean, cricket has done it, and look at where they are and what they are achieving, and that's because their federation believed in them, they received renumeration, and they got looked after.”
Judging from the figures you've just read, it becomes obvious that any woman playing professional soccer in Australia is doing it for the love of the game.
The least we can do for these elite athletes is to give them the support they need to excel. And create an environment where women and girls can legitimately consider professional sport as an option, without having to work extra jobs.
This year the Matildas made history for Australia; just imagine what they can do when they get enough support to focus entirely on their profession.
Please support the Matildas and show solidarity to their cause.
- Football Federation Australia
Support the Matildas by accepting the current proposal regarding wages and conditions, this includes but is not limited to:
- A base salary of $43,000 for tier 1 players
- A base salary of $33,000 for tier 2 players
- Paid maternity leave
- Be legally considered full time employees
- Flexibility to play with overseas clubs without affecting contract
- Improved travel and work conditions
- Pay all outstanding wages, match fees and World Cup prize money
This is a modest proposal far below the average wage in Australia and close to the minimum wage. These professional athletes are currently making less than the minimum wage and many are experiencing financial hardship. The World Cup ended July 5th and Matildas have still not received their prize money. They have not received any wages for months. Expecting them to continue playing without paying them wages owed is horrendous and baffling. The Matildas surpassed any other Australian Soccer Team in history during this World Cup and it's time to afford them the respect they deserve.
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