November 6, 2019 / 10:27 AM / 16 days ago

'Unique agreement' closes pay gap in Australia: FFA

(Reuters) - Australian soccer’s governing body said on Wednesday it has reached agreement with the players’ union on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that “closes the pay gap” between the men’s and women’s national teams.

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - Round of 16 - Norway v Australia - Allianz Riviera, Nice, France - June 22, 2019 Australia players pose for a team group photo before the match REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Football Federation Australia (FFA) said the four-year deal would ensure the “Matildas”, who reached the 2019 women’s World Cup last 16, and the Socceroos would receive a 24% share of an agreed aggregate of generated revenues in 2019-20, rising by 1% each year.

Players will receive an increased share of prize money for FIFA World Cup qualification, up to 40% from 30%, with the share rising to 50% if they progress to the knockout stage.

“Football is the game for everyone, and this new CBA 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 incentivises players and FFA to collaborate and grow the commercial pie together.”

Under the deal, the FFA and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) also agreed a new three-tiered centralized contract system for the Matildas that will see the country’s top female players earn the same as the men’s team.

FFA’s parental leave policy will be also be reviewed to offer higher levels of support for Matildas during pregnancy and when returning to national team duty.

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

Pay disparity between men’s and women’s professional footballers has been in the spotlight since the U.S. women’s team sued governing body U.S. Soccer in March alleging gender discrimination in earnings and working conditions.

In June, the Australian women’s team launched a campaign calling for prize-money parity ahead of the women’s World Cup.

The U.S. women’s team received $4 million for winning the World Cup in France out of the tournament’s total prize-money pool of $30 million. In the 2018 men’s tournament in Russia, winners France banked $38 million from a pool of $400 million.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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