Australia’s female footballers will receive a significant pay rise following an agreement between Football Federation Australia, the W-League clubs and Professional Footballers Australia.
In the first step to truly modernising the women’s professional game, the agreement means all W-League players will be guaranteed a minimum retainer of at least $10,000 for the coming season and $12,200 for the 2018/19 season.
With the new agreement, the average retainer is expected to rise from $6,909 to $15,500 for season 2017/18.
Additionally, there is no prescribed maximum cap on any one player’s retainer.
Under the agreement, the highest-earning professional female footballers – those plying their trade with the Matildas – will earn up to $150,000 per year
FFA CEO David Gallop said that while more needed to be done to bridge the gap to what professional males were being paid, this was an important next step for the female footballers in Australia.
“This is the start of a new era for professional female footballers in Australia,” Gallop said.
“W-League players deserve this pay rise. They have been trail blazers for women’s sport in Australia and are about to enter their tenth season.
“It is important to acknowledge that this significant improvement has been made possible through the close positive collaboration of the W-League clubs, Professional Footballers Australia and the players working over many months with FFA.”
The new deal puts the W-League in company with rival female sporting competitions, and the FFA will no doubt be hoping it will entice more players to the competition in the face of the competition offered by rival sporting codes like AFLW and Super Netball.
The minimum league expenditure on players will rise from half a million dollars to around $1.62 million. While a step in the right direction, this is a relatively small figure compared to the expenditures of other codes, with AFLW and Super Netball sitting at $2.4 million and $5.4 million respectively.
The W-League salary cap has been doubled to $300,000 which will encourage more international talent to the competition and strengthen the clubs. That figure will rise again to $350,000 in 2018-19.
While there is no free-to-air broadcasting deal under the agreement, Foxtel will show 24 regular season games and all of the three-game finals series.