We deserve this: Matildas defend pay parity
WE shoulder the same workload and pressures as the Socceroos, and that should be recognised.
That's the message from Matildas players both delighted and relieved to be on the cusp of receiving the same pay as their male counterparts.
Fresh from a World Cup that underlined the unprecedented expectation on Australia's women's national team, the Matildas are set to benefit from a forward-thinking deal befitting the ever-gathering momentum for gender parity in football.
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The pool of money for payments to both the male and female senior national teams will now be identical and all commercial revenues associated with both teams will be split straight down the middle.
The deal, is agreed in principle and could be announced before the Matildas play Chile at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday, is the culmination of rigorous months-long negotiations between Football Federation Australia and the players' union, and follows the latter's call for equal prize money at male and female World Cups earlier this year.
It earned a glowing review from vice-captain Steph Catley.
"We do the same processes as them for games and training and everything," Catley said on Tuesday.
"The deal hasn't been finalised … so we'll just have to let the PFA and FFA work that out.
"But obviously any kind of equality we've been striving for for years. Any type of increase in investment for women's football is just so important for us.
"The Socceroos have always been so supportive of us and want the best for us, and we've been in the top 10 of women's football for a long time - I feel like Australia is just starting to realise we have been pretty successful for a while.
"In terms of growing women's football, there's so many girls these days wanting to play and are playing, and this step forward is only going to be better for the future.
"It's another massive step for us and hopefully there are more steps to come and it can be a full-time career and pathway for girls."
A groundbreaking facet of the agreement is the Socceroos' willingness to correct the gender imbalance that historically has meant significant financial hardship for Australia's female footballers.
"For them to have bought into us," defender Alanna Kennedy said.
"Throughout the talks there's been a lot of collaboration with the two teams. For us as females, it's always good when you're appreciated and they show the support.
"We're hoping (it's finalised) by the end of the week. If we were to get it across the line it's exciting and a huge step forward for us.
"It's the way the world is moving at the moment. That's the fight we've been fighting for so long."