W-League players will be paid the same minimum hourly rate as A-League players under a landmark new salary deal signed off today.
Talks between Football Federation Australia and Professional Footballers Australia secured a promise that both genders will be guaranteed a like for like hourly rate under the groundbreaking gender equality deal.
W-League minimum salaries will go up by a third to $16,344 which will be the same hourly rate as the minimum A-League salary.
It's part of an overhaul of the Collective Bargaining Agreement unveiled today as a stop-gap one year deal while wrangling goes on between the FFA and club owners over the future of the A-League.
Until the new independent A-League body is created, the future of the salary cap and minimum salary spends is uncertain, sparking the need for a short-term agreement in the interim.
Other new initiatives include:-
- Raising the salary cap to $3.2m
- Allowing Western United a salary cap of $3.6m in their first season
- Allowing "homegrown players" to be completely outside the salary cap
- Increasing the number of scholarship players from six to nine
- Minimum salary spends go up by a relative amount to remain 90% of the cap at $2.88m next season.
PFA Chief Executive John Didulica said he was proud of the new deal.
"We’re very proud that we have been able to anchor the minimum conditions for W-League players to those of A-League players," he said. "It’s a moment in time that the players should be proud of.
“There is also now a commitment from the players, the clubs and FFA to use this 12-month window to work in partnership.
"This partnership will be critical to ensuring a successful transition to an independent league when agreed and to effectively reform and evolve fundamental areas such as the salary cap, transfer system, the W-League and building out the youth competitions.
“We’ve also taken steps toward simplifying the operation of the salary cap and addressing concerns about player churn.
"Hopefully, by growing the number of contracts available, we can give young players at club academies a longer period of time in professional structures.
"At the other end, we are also incentivising clubs to retain existing talent through removing caps on categories such as loyalty players and homegrown players.”
The FFA were keen to use the new deal to help build up the next gen of stars through A-League academies.
“The new Hyundai A-League CBA also provides an incentive to Hyundai A-League clubs to continue to invest in youth academies," said head of league Greg O'Rourke.
"Next season, the number of scholarship players will increase from six to nine and salary payments for homegrown players will not be included in the cap.
"FFA has worked with the Australian Professional Football Clubs and PFA to achieve an outcome that delivers on the gender equity principle of “same base pay for same base work” for players on the minimum remuneration in each league respectively.
"This means that players in the Westfield W-League and Hyundai A-League will receive the same minimum remuneration hourly rate.
“To assist Western United FC to be competitive for their inaugural Hyundai A-League season, we have also provided them an allowance of $400k which is effectively a salary cap of $3.6 million."
He added: “Since formal negotiations began late last year, all parties agreed that in the context of the Leagues CBAs the most appropriate and responsible course of action was for a one year extension.
"This was due to the ongoing discussions being undertaken by the New Leagues Working Group and the risks associated with negotiating a new employment framework for players in the absence of understanding the future Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League structures and commercial models at the time of renegotiation."