Women’s World Cup hosts Australia release video calling out pay disparity

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The Matildas, Australia’s national women’s soccer team, have released a video statement addressing the unequal distribution of prize money in the Women’s World Cup and expressing solidarity with female players who are denied the right to negotiate their pay collectively.

The video, which is backed by Australia’s professional players union, includes all members of the Women’s World Cup squad and comes at a time when several teams participating in the tournament are facing pay disputes.

In 2015, the Matildas went on strike to protest for improved wages. They have been receiving the same minimum percentage of prize money as the men’s national team, the Socceroos, since a collective bargaining agreement in 2019. However, they will only be competing for a small portion of the $440 million prize pool that was available to the men’s teams at the World Cup in Qatar last year.

“Seven hundred and thirty-six footballers have the honour of representing their countries on the biggest stage this tournament, yet many are still denied the basic right to organise and collectively bargain,” the players say in the video.

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“Collective bargaining has allowed us to ensure we now get the same conditions as the Socceroos, with one exception – FIFA will still only offer women one quarter as much prize money as men for the same achievement.”

“We call on those who run the game to work to provide opportunities for girls and women in football, whether that be players, coaches, administrators or officials.”

FIFA, the global governing body, did not immediately comment on the matter. The prize pool for the Women’s World Cup is $110 million, which is approximately three times higher than what FIFA offered for the 2019 tournament in France. 

FIFA aims to achieve prize money equality by the time of the next men’s and women’s World Cups in 2026 and 2027, respectively. Prior to the tournament in Australia and New Zealand, players from England, Canada, and Nigeria have been in disagreement with their federations regarding their pay. 

The message from the Matildas suggests that gender equality in sports will once again be a significant topic of discussion during the tournament, similar to the spotlight on the United States’ pay dispute with their federation in 2019.

Olivia Chance, a midfielder from New Zealand, expressed to Reuters that it is only natural for women to strive for equality.

“We are pushing for better standards of the game and I think it’s only natural when you see an organisation that maybe are giving more – because they always have – then you’re going to push for equal,” she said.

“In a workplace, if you see someone getting more, you’re going to push,” she added, noting that she had not yet seen the video message. “That’s just natural as a human being.”

The statement made by the Matildas is similar to the video that the Socceroos released before the 2022 World Cup, where they criticized Qatar’s human rights record and treatment of same-sex relationships.

READ ALSO: CONCACAF Gold Cup: Late Santiago Gimenez winner sees Mexico beat Panama 1-0 to lift Gold Cup

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