It all amounts to a pay cut for the Socceroos, but the team unanimously backed the new CBA when it was tabled by their union.
“We often underrate the quality of leadership that Australian football has had over recent years,” PFA chief executive John Didulica said.
“When you look at guys like Tim Cahill, Mile Jedinak and now Mark Milligan, these guys are genuine champions of the game and they see what’s in the best interests of the sport. And they had no doubt it was in the best interests of the game for the Matildas to be empowered and paid at the same level.”
Matildas midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight said the deal showed “respect” towards women’s players.
“As a female footballer, it’s kind of what we always dreamed of,” Kellond-Knight said.
“We always wanted to be treated equal, to be able to step out onto that pitch with equal opportunity and the equal facilities the men have been exposed to. Now we are going to be completely included.”
The new CBA also increases the amount of prizemoney from World Cups and Asian Cups that will go to players while also introducing a new three-tiered centralised contracting system for the Matildas that will lift annual remuneration across the board and put it on par with what the Socceroos receive.
Both the Socceroos and Matildas will recieve the same level of resourcing around travel and camps, extending to business class international flights for the women’s team for the first time.
A further 0.5 percent of national team revenues will go towards the PFA’s Footballers Trust, which will result in an annual six-figure sum to sustain Australia’s cerebral palsy national team program, the Pararoos.
Former Matilda Sarah Walsh, now the FFA’s head of game development, said it was tough not to be “sentimental” about what the agreement represented.
“I think about the 203 Matildas who have worn a jersey,” Walsh said.
“This is a moment for them to be very proud of their contribution up until this point. I think there’s some very solid foundations here for us to adopt and mirror equality within this [that] I think can be adopted within all layers of the game, particularly grassroots.
“The term male champions of change gets thrown around a lot and I think the fact that [the Socceroos] have put their values into action and made this happen through a holistic lens as a national team, men and women’s group, the collaboration and leadership shown across the game is really exciting. I’m excited to see how we build from this.”
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.