The Matildas will now be on the same pay scale as the Australian men's team, the Socceroos

By Jason Duaine Hahn
November 06, 2019 03:13 PM
Credit: Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty

In a historic deal, the Australian women’s national soccer team will now earn the same as their male counterparts — a move that may help trigger similar movements around the world to close the gender wage gap.

The Football Federation Australia granted equal pay to the Westfield Matildas on Wednesday, putting the team — ranked eighth in the world — on the same pay scale as the men’s team, the Caltex Socceroos, who are ranked 44th.

“This is a massive step taken to close the gender pay gap between the Socceroos and the Matildas,” FFA chief executive David Gallop said, according to the outlet.

Both teams will now split an equal share of commercial revenue, a change from the previous deal that had the Socceroos taking in a larger share of profits while also being paid more to play, CNN reported.

The women’s team can now fly business class for international travel, something the men already enjoyed, and coaching and operational support will now be brought to the standard expected from the Socceroos.

The Professional Footballers Australia, a group that represents both the Matildas and the Socceroos, called the deal “a commitment that is blind to gender.”

The Matildas
| Credit: Mark Nolan/Getty

“Football is the game for everyone, and this new [Collective Bargaining Agreement] is another huge step toward ensuring that we live the values of equality, inclusivity and opportunity,” FFA Chairman, Chris Nikou, said in a statement. “For the first time, player remuneration will be directly tied to the revenues generated by our National Teams — this will create a sustainable financial model that incentivizes players and FFA to collaborate and grow the commercial pie together.”

“This is truly a unique agreement,” he added. “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.”

Nikou said he hoped “the next generation of aspiring Australian kids” will see a clearer pathway toward a career playing soccer, regardless of their gender.

Megan Rapinoe of the USWNT
| Credit: Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

This off-the-field victory for the Matildas shines a light on the gender wage gap in soccer, which was highlighted in America after the USWNT’s victory at the Women’s World Cup in July.

Just a few months before, 28 players on the USWNT team filed a class-action lawsuit in March against their employer, accusing the USSF of workplace discrimination because of their gender, according to the New York Times.

The Washington Post reported that the players claimed they were paid less than the men’s national team, and also received less support from the USSF despite the fact that they played consistently well.

In a court filing in May, the USSF responded and denied the women’s claims, saying that pay is “based on differences in aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex.”

According to the Post, women’s games pulled in about $900,000 more in revenue than men’s games from 2016-18, and $1.9 million in the year after the women won the World Cup in 2015.