W-League players to get huge pay increase for new season
Australia's W-League will take a giant stride towards professionalism in its 10th season with A$10,000 minimum playing contracts.
A new deal hatched by the FFA and the players union, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), announced on Monday will more than double average wages for female soccer players.
"This is the start of a new era for professional female footballers in Australia," FFA chief executive David Gallop said.
"W-League players deserve this pay rise. They have been trail blazers for women's sport in Australia."
Hopes are high that with raised wages and the improving fortunes of Australia's national team the Matildas standards in the W-League will be as high as ever.
The new CBA and base wage means the average pay for a W-League player will be A$15,500, rising to A$17,400 next season.
The salary cap has been doubled to A$300,000 to allow for added wages and to encourage sides to bring in international talent.
Matildas' stars like Sam Kerr or Katrina Gorry are likely to earn six-figure amounts through local and overseas club deals and Matildas payments.
Scholarship players are exempt from the A$10,000 minimum contracts, but in all, the nine clubs will increase payments from less than half a million dollars in 2016-17 to S$1.62 million this season.
The season, which begins on Oct. 27 with a Grand Final rematch between Melbourne City and Perth Glory, will also see a bump in exposure.
There's no free-to-air broadcaster, but 24 regular season matches and the three-game final series will be screened on Pay TV.
PFA has also won improvement to minimum medical standards, a maternity policy and an agreement with head office to improve non-playing employment arrangements for players.
PFA 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.
Through the 14-week season, matches will be played in Bunbury, Cromer and Miranda in the hope of attracting new audiences, with 25 double-headers scheduled alongside A-League matches.
FFA has also cleared space on the calendar for a finals series that doesn't clash with the men's league.
The semifinals will be held on Sunday, Feb. 11 with the Grand Final on Feb. 18.