An unprecedented year of success for the Socceroos and Matildas has been reflected in a new pay deal that has the potential for the players to earn a growing share in Australian football’s commercial power.
Eleven months after the Socceroos reached the group stage of the FIFA Men’s World Cup for just the second time, and just weeks after the Matildas reached the semi-final of their home FIFA Women’s World Cup, the four-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) bakes in gender equity across both pay and conditions.
Under the new CBA struck between Football Australian (FA) and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) following months of negotiations, the Matildas will switch away from central contracts to a model where 70% of player payments for both the Socceroos and the Matildas are from match fees – divided equally between the men’s and women’s teams – and 30% from a share of the commercial income generated by the teams.
It’s understood that the players’ share of commercial revenues grows exponentially above certain levels, in a move that is seen to safeguard levels of investment in the national teams while also rewarding the players.
Working conditions will be mirrored across the men’s and women’s teams, including business class flights, sports science provisions and – for the first time – the option for players to have their own room in all camps.
“The new CBA represents a sophisticated economic model that rewards our players in tandem with the growth and commercial success of our national teams,” said FA CEO James Johnson.
“It’s a model that ensures as we scale new heights commercially, our players will share in the fruits of these triumphs—a true testament to our shared goals and values.”
The deal also commits both FA and PFA to work together on a common human rights policy, on the back of both national teams taking vocal positions on issues such as workers rights in Qatar during the men’s world Cup.
The money set aside for player welfare programs, around $2m, will for the first time be extended to include past players, while the parental support mandated in the deal has been extended to include accommodation provided for carers in camp for the first four years of a child’s life, up from the first two.
The switch away from central contracts for the Matildas comes four years after they were used to ensure both senior national teams had equal pay, with Australia becoming one of the very first teams in the world to do so.
The growth of resources in women’s football in Australia and overseas means player salaries at their clubs are a significantly larger proportion of their income now.
“This agreement is more than a contract; it’s a commitment to progress and a promise that as our revenue base flourishes, so will the opportunities and rewards for our players, making them key contributors in our game’s prosperity,” said Johnson.
“Our aim is clear: to continue growing the game of Australian football hand in hand with those who bring it to life on the pitch.”
“I am proud to say that this CBA is a landmark not just for Football Australia, but for sports organisations worldwide. It sets a new standard for how players and national associations can work together to achieve common objectives.”
PFA co-CEO Kate Gill said the involvement of a wide range of players in negotiations had helped to develop such a broad-based agreement.
“Since the first Socceroos CBA in 1997 and Matildas in 2010, our National Team agreements have laid the foundations for the international success Australia has enjoyed across the past 25 years,” she said.
“In partnership with Football Australia, we have a framework to ensure we capitalise on the growth and popularity of our players and National Teams across the next four years and further incentivise performance on the global stage.
“We thank Football Australia for the spirit of collaboration that has defined these negotiations and the contribution of over 40 National Team players who were so actively involved.”