'This Isn't Right': Matildas Take On FIFA Over Equal Pay Ahead Of World Cup
Just days out from the Women's World Cup, the Matildas have taken aim at FIFA over pay.
Backed by the Professional Footballers Australia union, the Our Goal is Now campaign is seeking to bridge the pay gap between men and women in football.
The prize pool at France 2019, which begins on Friday, is US $30 million, which is double the amount on offer at the previous World Cup in 2015.
But this still pales in comparison to how much money was taken home by the men's teams at last year's World Cup. The prize pool for Russia 2018 was US$400 million, which was an increase of US$42 million from the previous World Cup.
Last year's winners France took home US$38 million -- more than the entire prize pool of the women's competition.
On behalf of the Matildas, PFA chief executive John Didulica has engaged FIFA for the last year on the issue with a back-and-forth of correspondence.
After failing to gain support from FIFA, they've turned their their private campaign into a public call to arms, launching a website -- Our Goal Is Now --on the eve of the tournament.
"It is the players themselves who are the victims of the discrimination," Didulica said.
"The PFA expressly reserves the rights of the players to have this matter resolved through appropriate means including mediation and arbitration. There is no legal, economic or practical reason why this cannot occur after the tournament."
According to the PFA, should pay increases continue in this manner for female players, it will take until 2039 until men and women are on equal pay.
"The gap between the men’s prize money pool and the women’s pool is growing, from US $343 million to US $370 million over the four year World Cup cycle," it said.
The PFA argues that with FIFA having reserves of US $2.75 billion, it can fund an increase in women's prize money.
"Increasing the prize money at France 2019 to achieve equality would reduce those reserves by less than 11 percent," it said.
The PFA also points out that not all of the money won goes to the players, but rather their National Associations to "support the promotion of football".
The Matildas have agreed with Football Federation Australia to receive 30 percent of any winnings to be divided among the players.
"I'm so proud of the PFA for taking the initiative," Matildas player Elise Kellond-Knight told AAP.
"We're the one association that have put our hand up and said, 'this isn't right, is anyone going to do anything about it?'
"We'll put funds into it. We'll will put the time, the effort, the resources, and we'll investigate it will put a case together and see what sort of support we can get.
The U.S. women's team has been vocal about pay disparity. In March they sued the U.S. Federation alleging gender discrimination.
Norwegian player Ada Hegerberg -- who was named the world's best female player when she won the 2018 Ballon d'Or Féminin -- will not be at the World Cup, as she continues to boycott the national team in protest over unfair pay.