Australia in rallying call for equality ahead of World Cup

The Australian team has urged more equality in the football (Paul CROCK)

Australia’s Matildas urged FIFA on Monday to help close international football’s gender pay gap, while calling on more countries to strike collective bargaining agreements to make the women’s game “as big as it can be”.

In a team video message ahead of the Women’s World Cup, the side highlighted a general lack of equal pay conditions for women’s teams globally.

“Seven hundred and thirty-six footballers have the honour of representing their countries on the biggest stage this tournament,” they said of the showpiece event, which kicks off on Thursday in Australia and New Zealand.

“Yet many are still denied the basic right to organise and collectively bargain.

“Collective bargaining has allowed us to ensure we (the Matildas) 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 in positions of power across football, business and politics to come on the journey with us to make women’s football as big as it can be, here and around the world,” they added.

Prize money at this year’s Women’s World Cup, which features 32 teams for the first time, totals $152 million — triple that of the last edition in France in 2019.

But the figure still pales in comparison to the $440 million in prize money put up at the 2022 men’s World Cup in Qatar.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino last year said the world governing body had invested a billion dollars into women’s football, and its “ambition” was for equal prize money at the 2026 and 2027 men’s and women’s World Cups.

– ‘Fight for recognition’ –

Currently, the Matildas are one of only a few national teams with a collective bargaining agreement in place, as is the US women’s team after it was successful in a high-profile lawsuit in 2022.

Australia struck their deal in 2019 to earn the same as their male counterparts under a centralised contract system negotiated with Football Federation Australia.

During Monday’s video, the side listed several key dates that paved the way for the conditions the team now enjoy.

“Those that came before us showed us that being a Matilda means something,” captain Sam Kerr said in the video.

“They showed us how to fight for recognition, validation, and respect.”

Their message was reminiscent of one released by the Australian men’s team before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which highlighted human rights concerns.

Women’s football is enjoying a surge in popularity in some countries, and the World Cup looks set to spark further global interest.

Earlier this year, FIFA’s chief women’s football officer Sarai Bareman predicted it would be a “watershed” moment that propelled the game to another level, with more than two billion viewers expected to tune in.



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