Australia’s women’s national football team has called off its entire tour of the United States as the pay dispute with the FFA continues to escalate.
The Matildas on Tuesday confirmed their withdrawal from a Sydney training camp ahead of the tour, and have now upped the ante in calling off their tour of the world champions.
The Matildas thrilled Australian audiences in reaching the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup earlier this year, becoming the first Australian representative team to reach the last eight in a football world cup.
But it has been two months since the Matildas were paid, after the players’ contracts expired and negotiations stalled.
It is understood that players made the decision to withdraw from the tour during a meeting late on Wednesday afternoon.
Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) chief executive Adam Vivian says the players are not asking for much.
“The Matildas are in a very interesting situation, they fundamentally have a full-time workload with part time pay, so we’re looking for an immediate correction to their pay scheme – that’s not a huge correction by the way, that correction sort of circa $150,000 in total in terms of the addition of what’s been offered,” he told the ABC’s PM.
“It’s not a huge amount of money considering we’re talking about over the next four years … a $600 million economy for professional football.”
Vivian says at $21,000 a year for each player, there is no question the Matildas are underpaid.
“They don’t even have yearly contracts, they have six month contracts and those six month contracts equate to about $10,500,” he said.
“When they were negotiated it was because it was on the premise that they were part time, only 120 days a year they would have to work and clearly as we saw in the lead up to the Women’s World Cup, while it was fantastic that they had a full-time program, the remuneration wasn’t [great] … they ended up working 154 days in about six months and so they fall into sort of that underpaid category very quickly.”
The move follows the Socceroos’ decision to not attend a signing session in a Perth shopping centre before their World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh, following the expiration of the men’s team’s collective bargaining agreement.
Matildas ‘dragged into A-League dispute’: Gallop
The PFA is also fighting for a pay rise for A-League players. FFA’s chief executive David Gallop was not available for an interview, but in a written statement, suggested the existing pay offer was fair.
“It’s sad that the Matildas have been dragged into a dispute that’s primarily about the A-League,” Gallop said.
“The offer to the Matildas would basically double their pay over the next four years. The new demands are simply not affordable and the PFA knows it.
“The deal put on the table by FFA represents the best pay and conditions ever presented to Australian footballers, with a guarantee of 30 per cent of uplift in new TV revenue going straight to the salary cap.”
Vivian agrees it is time for a deal to be struck but denies that the Matildas are playing anything so frivolous as a game.