Australian female footballers to earn same base pay as men

Australia's professional female footballers secured a landmark pay rise Friday that will see them receive the same minimum wage as their male counterparts.

Under a new collective bargaining agreement unveiled on the eve of the World Cup in France, the base annual pay for players in the W-League was hiked 33 percent to Aus$16,344 (US$11,393).

Their season is much shorter than the A-League, but pro-rata it matches the men's minimum salary.

Football Federation Australia hailed the move as "an outcome that delivers on the gender equity principle of 'same base pay for same base work'".

"This means that players in the Westfield W-League and Hyundai A-League will receive the same minimum remuneration hourly rate," said FFA Head of Leagues Greg O'Rourke.

High-profile stars like Sam Kerr can earn six-figure amounts through local and overseas club deals and Matildas payments.

Up until two years ago many players in the W-League were considered amateur and received only reimbursement of expenses, but that changed in 2017 when they won better employment conditions.

Professional Footballers Australia chief John Didulica said he was "proud" to have secured another "landmark step for women footballers".

The W-League, which typically runs from November to February, has been growing in popularity with high hopes that standards will improve further as the country targets hosting the 2023 Women's World Cup.

The breakthrough pay deal comes with the PFA spearheading a push for increased prize money at the World Cup in France that gets under way on Friday.

The www.ourgoalisnow.com campaign website said the 24 teams will compete for US$30 million, just 7.5 percent of the US$400 million prize pool for the men's World Cup in 2018, adding the gap had widened across the four-year World Cup cycle.

"It is the players themselves who are the victims of the discrimination," Didulica told broadcaster ABC.

Australia has emerged as a champion for equality in the sports arena with netballers and women cricketers also winning better pay deals in recent years.

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