Just days before the Women’s World Cup kicks off in New Zealand and Australia, the Australian women’s team has called out soccer’s global governing body FIFA over prize money inequity compared with the Men’s World Cup.
“Collective bargaining has allowed us to ensure we now get the same conditions as the [Australia men’s national soccer team] Socceroos, with one exception,” the Australian players said, in a video statement tweeted by Professional Footballers Australia on Sunday. “FIFA will still only offer women one-quarter as much prize money as men for the same achievement.”
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In March, FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced that $110 million of basic prize money will be awarded at the Women’s World Cup, up from $30 million for the 2019 tournament. For this year’s tournament, FIFA is also providing $31 million for teams’ preparations and approximately $11 million in remuneration to clubs whose players are participating in the World Cup, taking the $110 million figure to $152 million. However, that is still dwarfed by the $440 million in prize money available at last year’s Men’s World Cup in Qatar.
Infantino said that FIFA aims to have equality in payments for the Men’s and Women’s World Cups in 2026 and 2027, respectively.
Last month, FIFA also announced a new financial distribution model ahead of the Women’s World Cup, detailing player payments at the tournament. Players whose teams exit the tournament at the group stage will receive $30,000, according to FIFA, with payments rising depending on how far teams progress in the tournament.
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“Under this unprecedented new distribution model, each individual player at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 can now fully rely on remuneration for their efforts as they progress through the tournament,” Infantino said in a statement. “The captain that ultimately lifts the iconic FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy on Aug. 20 in Sydney will receive $270,000, as will each of her 22 teammates.”
“The global salary of women’s professional footballers is approximately $14,000 annually, so the amounts allocated under this unprecedented new distribution model will have a real and meaningful impact on the lives and careers of these players,” Infantino added.
New Zealand faces Norway in the World Cup’s opening game Thursday, with the Australian team, known as the Matildas, playing Ireland later that day.
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Other national teams have been fighting for pay equity. Last year the U.S. women’s national team won their long fight for equal pay with the men’s national team.
The Canadian women’s national team, winners of the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, has also been embroiled in a fight for pay equity with Canada Soccer.