Women’s Australian US Tour Canceled Due to Pay Disputes
Each year the Matildas are paid an annual salary of $21,000 (£9,634 ), but this year they have fought for a pay increase that would give them a salary of $40,000 (£18,339 ). This is a move to increase the pay for both the men's and women's teams, with the men's team boycotting commercial appearances the week prior.
The Football Federation of Australia (FFA) has refused the pay increases and called them “unsustainable” due to the high increase in salary. The FFA released a statement saying that the players have been making “extraordinary demands” which has caused the tour to be canceled this year, as the demands could not be met.
This comes as a big hit since over 60,000 tickets have already been sold for both world championship matches located in the USA. The matches were going to take place in Detroit and Birmingham on the 17th and the 20th of this month, but have now been canceled.
The previous agreement had expired back on June 30th earlier this year, and since then a new agreement has not been met. This has resulted in the women's team not being paid for the past two months. This caused the team to pull out of a training camp earlier in the dispute. Since then, the tour has been in jeopardy and was expected to be canceled if a deal had not been met. Matilda's goalkeeper Lydia Williams made a statement calling the decision “extremely difficult,” but a necessary action that had to be taken so that the FFA would take the new deal seriously.
The official cancellation of the tour came within 24 hours of the team refusing to attend a practice session that was scheduled in Sydney. The US association will be losing over a million dollars as a result of the cancellation and will be forced to refund ticket sales.
While most of the team has stood their ground, six players have broken out and stated that they still want to continue on with the tour. Matilda's captain Lisa De Vanna is among the six individuals, hoping to play the tour out.
“I just want to play for my country. It's all I want to do,” De Vanna stated. “If my coach calls me and asks me to play I will always make myself available.”
Along with the increase in wages, the team is also looking for improvements to accommodation, international match pay, as well as various small benefits to the team.
The FFA Chief Executive David Gallop made a statement to the media about the events.
“This (A-League) is a competition in which the clubs lost a collective 17 million dollars last season. What we have today is an extraordinary situation in which the two male playing groups in the Socceroos and A-League continue to be paid by FFA and A-League clubs, but the female players aren't being paid. This could have been fixed today if the PFA had accepted the interim deal.”