The great shame in sport this week is that the good work done for Australian women’s football, out of the World Cup, could unravel as a pay dispute between the players and the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) continues.
Laying the specifics aside, the facts are Australia’s female footballers at the top level are paid well below par -- and that’s in relation to other professional female footballers, not the men.
While the dispute between the Players Association (PFA) and the FFA over a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is mostly focused on pay scales for the top level male footballers in Australia, the women will also be covered under such an agreement.
David Gallop, CEO of the FFA, says it is a shame that the Matildas have been dragged into a dispute that centres mainly on the male players in the FFA.
Gallop says "the wage increases the PFA have asked for are not sustainable" #football— FOX SPORTS News (@FOXSportsNews) September 10, 2015
The Socceroos collectively acted a fortnight ago when they made themselves unavailable for public appearances, ahead of the latest round of world cup qualifying matches, until this pay issue with the FFA is resolved.
Gallop however, is remaining defiant, insisting the facts of the matter are being blurred and the situation in relation to the Matildas is “preposterous”.
Whether the core issue relates to the Socceroos more than the Matildas is surely irrelevant.
Australian representative female footballers are not paid appropriately in relation to their peers, nor in relation to their level of success, given the team has a world ranking inside the top ten.
Over 20,000 people have signed a petition urging FFA to pay the Matildas the wage of an elite athlete in Australia. pic.twitter.com/IzKnJ5P5Ng— SBS - The World Game (@TheWorldGame) September 10, 2015
The significant action taken this week, which has escalated the pay dispute regarding the Matildas, is the cancellation of planned tour of the US.
This move, while drastic, has had strong support from across the football world.
Unfortunately, this action has also created division within the ranks of the team as the current Matildas captain Lisa De Vanna, has come out against the US tour cancellation. While team mates understand her position, there is still disappointment at the lack of solidarity.
Discussions between the FFA and the PFA are continuing, but this does not immediately help the women who set aside career and work obligations to pursue their World Cup dream and from that, continue on as professional footballers gearing up for an Olympics campaign.