W-League pay on the agenda

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A report surveying nearly two-thirds of 2015 Westfield W-League players has concluded that the majority of players received less than $500 in total match payments, with many paid nothing at all and forced to fund season costs themselves.

The report, released by the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), aims to inform the newly established W-League Working Party of the current structure of clubs and conditions for female players.

In a well overdue move by Football Federation Australia (FFA), W-League athletes are soon expected to receive a base salary of $5000 for the upcoming eight-week season.

While the amount is little in comparison to their male counterparts, the move is at least a minor step forward in the ongoing gender pay gap debate that is particularly prevalent in women’s sport.

The decision follows changes made to the pay arrangements of elite Australian women’s football team, the Matildas, who last year fought for and won their unsettled right to a wage rise.

Unfortunately, the deal struck a chord for the national team but failed to bring any sort of remuneration home for the deserving W-League players.

The PFA report also revealed that some players were in fact receiving a higher payment from their state-based teams than that of their W-League clubs.

With recent pay rise proposals being accepted in the Australian women’s netball and Australian rules leagues, FFA is being put under the spotlight to promptly address the remuneration issue and start enforcing an equal pay platform for players.

It is unfortunate to see that there is still no place in society where the wage disparity between men and women is greater than in sports and it’s even more concerning that so many continue to rally against the concept.

In addition to the overall pay issue the working party will also focus on concerns surrounding minimum medical conditions and a collective bargaining agreement, that players expressed were of equal concern.

While pay is often labelled in headlines as the focal problem, players in the report explained their frustration is also a result of lacking facilities, equipment and medical provisions.

With Round One of the W-League fast approaching, we can only hope to start seeing some changes from the league’s bosses if they intend to hold onto players and in turn see a 2017 season.

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