The Matildas are effectively on strike, according to media reports, as they have refused to attend a planned training camp.
National players are paid a base salary of around $21,000 a year, which the FFA has offered to increase to around $23,000. However, this offer is only available to players who stay in Australia to play in domestic leagues.
Players are also currently paid $500 for competing in international matches – and the FFA has said that players who go overseas will receive only these payments if they do so; an annual salary will not be paid.
As it stands, Matildas coaching staff can grant their players permission to compete overseas while still being paid as a member of the national team.
According to a report
by the ABC, it has been two months since the Matildas were paid, after the players’ contracts expired and negotiations reached a stalemate.
The Professional Footballers Association are now fighting for the players’ salaries to be increased to at least meet the national minimum wage of around $33,000 a year, as well as a protection to their rights to play overseas when not training or competing for the Australian squad.
Adam Vivian, CEO of Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), said in a statement that the players had made the decision to withdraw from the tour on Wednesday afternoon.
“The players are currently uncontracted and are under no obligation to participate in any Matildas related activities,” he said.
“The players feel they have been left with no option other than to take this course of action. They were hopeful that FFA’s position would alter following the breakdown in negotiations.
“However, the interim letter agreement offered to the players this afternoon, with a 6pm deadline, proved this had not been the case.”
Vivian referred to the team’s situation as “very interesting”.
“They fundamentally have a full-time workload with part time pay, so we're looking for an immediate correction to their pay scheme,” he said. “That's not a huge correction, that correction sort of circa $150,000 in total in terms of the addition of what's been offered.”
“It's not a huge amount of money considering we're talking about over the next four years ... a $600 million economy for professional football.”
According to Vivian, the $21,000 each player received per year was definitely unfair.
“They don't even have yearly contracts, they have six month contracts and those six month contracts equate to about $10,500,” he explained.
“When they were negotiated it was because it was on the premise that they were part time, only 120 days a year they would have to work and clearly as we saw in the lead up to the Women's World Cup, while it was fantastic that they had a full-time program, the remuneration wasn't [great].
“They ended up working 154 days in about six months and so they fall into sort of that underpaid category very quickly.”
The Australian women’s football team has called off its US tour as its pay dispute with the FFA continues.