Australian soccer union: Women deserve equal reward in World Cup

The prize money for the 2019 Women's World Cup is $30 million. It's double the prize money awarded for the 2015 World Cup in Canada, but a fraction of the $400 million in prize money for the men's 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Raad Adayleh/AP
Australia's Samantha Kerr (l.) fights for control of the ball against Japan's Nana Ichise (r.) during the AFC Jordan 2018 Women's Asian Cup final in Amman, Jordan, April 20, 2018. Ahead of the Women's World Cup start in Paris on June 7, Australian players are pushing FIFA to award equal prize money to the men's and women's cup victors.

The Australian players' union has called on FIFA to award the same prize money for the Women's World Cup that is provided for the men's tournament.

Professional Footballers Australia launched a website to bring the campaign to light.

"FIFA should reward female and male players equally because it is the right thing to do," the campaign states. "The achievement of becoming world champion in the world's greatest game should be treated with equal respect for both genders."

The prize money for the Women's World Cup is $30 million, with $4 million going to the champion. That is double the prize money that was awarded for the 2015 World Cup in Canada.

However, it is just a fraction of the $400 million in prize money for last year's men's World Cup in Russia. France, the winner of the tournament, was awarded $38 million. The prize money for the 2022 men's World Cup in Qatar will be $440 million.

On Tuesday, international players' union FIFPro issued a statement in support of the PFA.

"Women national team players around the world should receive equal treatment to their male national team counterparts; this should include their travel and accommodation as well as their medical treatment and financial compensation," the statement said.

In a letter to FIFA last week, the PFA asked that the prize money be raised immediately. The FIFA Congress is being held in Paris ahead of the start of the Women's World Cup.

The PFA first raised the issue with FIFA in letter last year after the increased prize money was announced. In the most recent letter, they said the prize money should be immediately raised by $27 million – the total of the increased gap in prize money between the women's tournament in France and the men's tournament in Qatar.

"We suggest that, at a minimum, the FIFA Council take the opportunity to increase the Prize Money to be awarded to the participating teams by $27 million to a total of $57 million. This will at least address the exacerbation of FIFA's discriminatory conduct," the PFA letter said. "We can then meet in good faith after the tournament to discuss how to fully realize FIFA's statutory, regulatory and policy commitments to non-discrimination and the fulfillment of the internationally recognized human rights of the players."

There was no indication that FIFA would address the matter before the tournament. FIFPro said FIFA has agreed to start negotiating new conditions for women's national team players after the World Cup.

The union is "determined to making real and lasting progress on behalf of them," FIFPro said.

Prize money is just one equity issue that is getting attention ahead of the World Cup, which opens Friday. Twenty-four teams will compete in the monthlong tournament, which concludes with the final in Lyon on July 7.

The U.S. women's national team, the defending champion, has collectively filed a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The first women's Ballon d'Or winner, Ada Hegerberg, is not playing for Norway because of what she believes is a general disregard for the women's national team by that country's federation.

This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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