W-League | How to fix our national women’s competition

We needn’t remind you the Matildas are currently ranked sixth in the FIFA world rankings. Yet our national women’s league is no match for the professional running of the A-League, which co-insides with the 54th ranked Socceroos.

The Westfield W-League is still not up to scratch and it’s 2017, the ninth season of the competition. Here’s what needs to be fixed for the tenth anniversary of the league.

1. Longer Season

The W-League held 12 round games in the 2016/17 season, with nine teams competing from around Australia. Resulting in a team each week having a BYE and each team guaranteed only to meet once.

Without a consistent one home game & one away game, and without each team meeting twice in the tournament, the competition can’t progress and develop. The minimum rounds per season should increase to allow this and lengthen the short season to gift Australian and international players a professional competition.

2. Player Wages

The salary cap for the 2016/17 season was set at $150,000 per club in the W-League, with the minimum spend of just $35,000 for the season. However, the salary cap of the A-League was $2.60 million for the 2016/17 Season, with clubs forced to spend at least $2.340m.

Putting aside the ridiculous gender pay gap, the minimum expenditure of the A-League is 90% of their salary cap, whereas the women’s minimum expenditure is around 23% of their salary cap. To match the 90% minimum salary expenditure of the A-League, each W-League club must commit to spending $135,000 each year.

3. One Club Mentality

Whilst this has been identified by FFA, Canberra United and Newcastle Jets are both still supported and funded by their State Member Federations each season. This needs to change in order to help funding the W-League and increase its’ professional atmosphere in the future.

The One Club mentality should be implemented to force clubs to invest in both professional female and male football teams. Helping to increase salary expenditure, lift facility standards and create a professional environment between both W-League and A-League teams under one brand.

4. Coverage

One game a week on the ABC is just ridiculous, kudos to ABC for providing that for thw W-League in seasons past, but it’s not enough. In line with the A-League, each and every game should be televised to encourage the coverage and exposure of the W-League. It’s not rocket science, give people the means to watch it and they will watch!

Coverage of the top women’s football league in Australia needs to increase and could help the players secure sponsorship deals outside of their menial salaries. Also, with consistent coverage there will also be no excuse for FFA not to implement a Match Review Panel (MRP) for red card appeals in the W-League.

5. Facilities

The facilities of the “intimate boutique stadiums”, as described in the 2015 Whole of Football Plan, neglects to mention the sub-par change rooms and pitches that are afforded to the W-League. As long as professional female footballers in Australia are subjected to such facilities, the fan base, exposure and professional atmosphere that FFA strives to achieve will be undermined in the W-League.

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A player turned Journalist that's still holding onto the dream by writing about the Newcastle Jets this season!