Horray! Australia’s top women soccer players will now earn the same as their male counterparts. A landmark deal called the Collective Bargaining Agreement was struck yesterday between Australia's soccer governing body Football Federation (FFA)and the players’ union, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA). This deal aims to close the gender pay gap between the country’s national teams. The women’s Westfeid Matildas and the men's Caltex Socceroos will also share an equal split of all commercial revenues ( previously, the men’s team earned a greater share). The Matildas will also be allowed to travel business class for international travel, as the men do, and coaching and operational support will be brought to the same standard as the men's team.
"Football is the game for everyone, and this new CBA is another huge step toward ensuring that we live the values of equality, inclusivity and opportunity," said FFA Chairman Chris Nikou."This is truly a unique agreement. Every national team, from the Socceroos and Matildas, down to the Youth National Teams as well as the Cerebral Palsy National Teams have been contemplated in this new CBA."
This move comes after much back and forth. In 2015, the Australian women's team canceled a sell-out tour of the US amid a dispute with the FFA over their pay, which the players said was so low it was illegal. Midfielder for the Matildas, Elise Kellond-Knight expressed her joy at the press conference announcing the deal. This is what she had to say:
"As a female footballer, it's what we've always dreamed of. We always wanted to be treated equally. The new CBA shows signs of respect -- we are going to be completely included. Having these facilities that the men have been exposed to will set us up for success."
Equal pay and the gender pay gap have been in the spotlight in recent years, and there have been many cases of international sportswomen taking a stand. In March, the US women's soccer team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation, alleging US Soccer's payment practices amount to federal discrimination by paying women less than men, a trail for which has been set in May the coming year. The new agreement Australia comes as welcome news and is a step in the right direction when it comes to setting a precedent towards equal pay in the world of sports and many other fields as well.