Women's football set to receive cash boost
FOOTBALL: Millions of dollars would be spent to revolutionise women's football under an ambitious plan put forward by the players' association designed to lead to Australia winning the World Cup.
Involving a fundamental rethink of the economics of the game, the plan calls for at least 60 players to earn at least $60,000 a year in the W-League, with a minimum salary set at $11,500 per W-League season. The aim would be to end the hand-to-mouth existence for many W-League players, many of whom research has shown effectively pay for the right to play professional football.
Though it's unclear who would foot the increased bill, the Professional Footballers' Association said a year's worth of research had shown the need to create an easily navigable pathway to the elite level, to maximise the top players coming out of football's unprecedented grassroots participation numbers.
"The one thing missing from Australia's CV as a sporting nation is a global trophy from the global game," said PFA CEO John Didulica.
"Women's football has the highest participation base among young girls in the country. Our national team is among the very best in the world and our sport offers the prospect of international opportunity like no other.
"However, we are yet to fully leverage these competitive advantages through the establishment of a genuine professional pathway for our elite players."
The blueprint follows the Matildas' success in recent years in winning the Asian Cup in 2010 and making headway at both World Cups and the 2016 Olympics.
"The goals of winning the World Cup and an Olympic gold medal are ambitious, and rightly so, as they must reflect our shared ambition of being the very best," said Didulica.
"To be the best, we need to be able to offer greatness.
"Through an increased investment of $1.5m we can revolutionise the W-League and make it among the best leagues in the world, and significantly grow our talent pool, which is fundamental to our international success, and ability to attract and retain the best talent."