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Australian women's soccer team get equal pay in historic deal

Members of the Australian women's national soccer team will now make the same money as the men's team in a landmark deal that addresses the gender pay disparity between the two clubs. The Westfield Matildas made the announcement earlier this week after a new collective bargaining agreement was reached. 

Australia's soccer governing body, Football Federation Australia (FFA), and the players' union, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), agreed on a four-year deal with pay and benefits for the Matildas on level with the men's team, the Caltex Socceroos, which range from World Cup earnings to player development.

Players will receive 40% of prize money on qualifying for a FIFA World Cup — up from 30%. Their share of the prize money rises to 50% if they advance from the knockout stage. 

According to announcement, a new 3-tiered centralized contract system will have the Matildas see an increase in pay, with Tier 1 players earning the same amount as the top men's players. 

The Socceroos were paid more than the Matildas and earned a bigger slice of commercial revenues until the women's team launched a campaign to pressure FIFA to provide equal prize money prior to the World Cup over the summer. 

The Matildas will now get access to business class international travel, the same as the Socceroos. The FFA's paternal leave policy will also get upgraded with a "higher level of support" for Matildas during pregnancy and returning to the national team. The new agreement will also provide an increased level of funding to provide well-being and support to all national team players.

"Football is the game for everyone, and this new CBA [collective bargaining agreement] is another huge step toward ensuring that we live the values of equality, inclusivity and opportunity," said FFA chairman Chris Nikou.

With this deal, he added, "the next generation of aspiring Australian kids can see a pathway that offers a sustainable career, a chance to be an Olympian, and the lure of playing at a FIFA World Cup — regardless of your gender."

The U.S. Women's National Team hopes to obtain a similar deal. Earlier this year, members of the USWNT filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, alleging institutionalized gender discrimination and demanding equal pay

The U.S. women's team won its fourth FIFA World Cup championship in July, but earned less than a quarter of what the U.S. men's team would have been paid for the same feat. Mediation talks between the two sides broke down in August after their first day of discussions.

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