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Australian women footballers take step towards professionalism

Sydney (AFP) – Australia’s women footballers took a step towards professionalism Monday with pay rises and better employment conditions agreed as the nation works to build on the success of the Matildas national team.

Until now, many players in the domestic W-League were considered amateur and received only reimbursement of expenses.

But under a new two-year deal, they will be guaranteed a minimum retainer of at least Aus$10,000 (US$8,000) for the coming season and Aus$12,200 for 2018/19.

High-profile stars like Sam Kerr or Katrina Gorry are now likely to earn six-figure amounts through local and overseas club deals and Matildas payments.

“This is the start of a new era for professional female footballers in Australia,” Football Federation Australia chief David Gallop said.

He also acknowledged more still needed to be done to bridge the gap with what men are paid.

Australia’s W-League is about to enter its 10th season, with hopes high that standards will improve further as the country targets hosting the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The Matildas are currently ranked sixth in the world.

Professional Footballers Australia chief John Didulica said the deal was “foundational”. 

“Hand-in-hand with the club owners and the FFA, it will build a platform to grow the players’ collective hope of building a professional career as a footballer,” he said.

Australia’s netballers and women cricketers have also won better pay deals in recent months.

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