Photo Credit: Emily Mogic Photography
The Matildas, Australian women’s national team, have taken unprecedented action in withdrawing from a scheduled training camp and 10 day, two match tour with recently crowned world champions the United States.
Here are some quick points on the current situation as we are currently aware.
What has led to the Matildas camp and tour withdrawals?
The PFA have been negotiating on behalf of the Matildas, Socceroos (men’s national team) and A-League (men’s national league) players for the last two months since the expiration of all three Collective Bargaining Agreements in July 2015.
All three parties are negotiating together for the first time with PFA attempting a “whole of game” negotiation.
The tense negotiations have escalated into player action with last week the Socceroos declining corporate activities on behalf of the FFA and this week the Matildas withdrawing from a 3 day camp and, subsequently, next week’s US tour matches.
How many players are involved in the player action?
95% of the PFA member players are involved and include a substantial number of members of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad.
At this stage only captain Lisa De Vanna is on record as being against the action, although there have been highly disputed reports of up to 6 players uninvolved.
21 of the 23 WWC squad members have used social media (Facebook or Instagram posts or tweets) to convey their involvement in the player action.
Are the Matildas under contract?
Not at present. The previous CBA covered the Matildas up until 22 May 2015.
An interim agreement was struck for the period of the Women’s World Cup with a new CBA to be agreed for the next four years.
“There are no contracted Matildas any longer. They came back from Canada without Matildas contracts.” – PFA CEO Adam Vivian.
What were the terms of the previous CBA?
While they have not been disclosed, it is widely understood that the players were all contracted on a base rate of $21,000 per year or $150 daily wage and an equal share in 30 per cent of all prize money.
In addition, they were provided with the following match payments:
- $500 per standard international game
- $500 per group-stage tournament game
- $600 per round of 16-tournament game
- $750 per tournament quarter-final
- $1250 per tournament semi-final or third or fourth-place playoff
- $1500 per tournament final
The contention is that for some players they would be pay a little over $10,000 (plus any match payments) for the last 6 months, for which they were on national team duty for 154 days of a possible 182 (between 1 January 2015 and 1 July 2015).
As a consequence, they were earning approximately $400 pw with limited ability to supplement the income due to a full time training load.
With the Australian minimum wage set at $656.90 per week (before tax), the PFA argue that the players have been underpaid and are proposing an immediate correction.
What are the player’s claims for pay and conditions under a new CBA?
In terms of pay, the players are looking for an immediate increase of the player payment pool – to correct the previously stated underpayment – from $750,000 to $1 million for 25 player contracts.
This would equate to a base increase from $21,000 per player to $40,000 per player. The team would also move back to a tiered model with a Tier 1 Matilda at $40,000 and Tier 2 at $33,000.
There would then be an annual increases of 15% across the 4 year term of the new CBA.
In terms of conditions, the players claims include:
:: Mode of employment – paying them as full time professionals for full time load
:: Number of players on contract – the FFA have offered 18 player contracts while PFA proposing current 25
:: Length of the contract – currently 6 months – to increase to 12 months for player certainty
:: Notice period for terminations – provide for more than 1 month notice
:: Facility access ie gym memberships
:: Parental Management Policy
:: Domestic playing obligations – precluding players from Matildas contracts if not in the W-League
:: Increased commercial opportunities
:: Medical standards
What is the offer from the FFA?
The offer currently on the table from the FFA is an immediate 10% increase in player pool from $750,000 to $850,000.
This would increase the current base wage from $21,000 per year to $23,000 immediately. There would then be an annual increase of 15% for the four years of the new CBA ending at approximately $33,000 per year base wage.
They have also offered “significant increases in spending on air travel, accommodation and benefits for Matildas players”.
“The offer to the Matildas would basically double their pay over the next four years.” – FFA CEO David Gallop
In addition, the FFA has invested substantially in a new television agreement that would cover broadcast of the upcoming W-League season and also Matildas (would have included the US matches).
How does it compare with other women’s national teams?
While the figures are not publicly available, the national team players top five women’s football countries – USA, Germany, Japan, France and England – are considered to be fully professional earning that minimum of AUD$40,000.
Could the Matildas have gone on the US tour?
The short answer is yes. The FFA tabled a Letter of Agreement to cover the pre-tour camp and the US tour.
It offered one-off payment for the players on the US tour for the two month period 1 August – 30 September 2015 of $6,750 for each player but did not address the other claims proposed by the players.
Further, the FFA offered to bring forward the payment of FIFA Women’s World Cup prize money – $13,274.15 per player – for each of the 23 squad members .
So why didn’t they?
For the players, the issue is they are currently uncontracted and as a result have not been paid for two months. They have also committed to the “whole of game” negotiations and therefore all three agreements are to be executed together.
“The employment status of the Matildas is uncertain and their financial stability is uncertain…What they are saying is that enough is enough.” – Adam Vivian.
September #USWNT games vs. Australia won't be cancelled due to Matildas union issues. New opposition being lined up.
— Rob Stone (@RobStoneONFOX) September 9, 2015
How much further are players prepared to go?
Unless something changes significantly, they will not be going to the USA.
The players ultimately want the right deal and if it takes time they are committed to that. The players have said they will continue to work towards a deal.
“It may be a case of taking a step backwards [in the short term] to go forwards. It is not necessarily what anyone wants.”
“It is an important stand they are taking and it comes back to the way that have been treated over an extended period of time.”
“It comes back to a work v value issue. They are not being valued for the work they do, the success they have had and the performances they have put on.”
Will this effect the W-League?
At this stage it shouldn’t. Currently most members of the PFA are national team members or those who have been called into camp.
The W-League – as a semi-pro league – doesn’t fall under the PFA, however, this last six months have FIFPro (the world player union) has made it possible for players to join them individually. The PFA is a member association of FIFPro.
While the PFA have also stated they are negotiating for better conditions in the W-League – bringing them up to men’s National Youth League standard – the CBA negotiations are substantially to do with the national team.