The BBC has researched that football is one of the few sports that don’t reward equal prize money in at least one of its major events.
Grand Slams in tennis, Squash and Hockey give the same financial reward to both men and women teams, while Cricket’s The Hundred and Big Bash League now have identical pay outs regardless of gender.
The study has shown that since 2017 Football has one of the most uneven differences in what a male and female earn if they are competing in the same competition.
Governing bodies are not pressuring Football to give both genders the same salary but argue that both sexes getting the same funds for success have seen increases in turnover in other sports, more sponsorship and participation.
As the World Champions, USA have long battled for equal pay arguing that it’s morally wrong that even winning a World Cup doesn’t pay as much as their less successful male counterparts get for simply showing up.
How can FIFA claim the sport is equal when one Men’s World Champions get 27 million (France) and the other just 2.9 million?
In England Arsenal ladies are probably the closest to relating to the US women.
Our ladies have won 9 titles since the men did but only last year did the WSL give a set sum to the Champions – 100,000. To put that in perspective Liverpool’s title was worth 35 million.
The UK rightfully pats itself on the back for the progress made in the Women’s Game, but perception is not the reality. Considering all revenue, last season Mikel Arteta’s worst League Finish in two decades was still worth over 130 million.
What message are you giving to young girls who see their role models be successful, but not even close to being compensated like the gunners men are for failing?
My answer to that is unfortunately the popularity and quality of Men and Women’s Football are so different they are separate sports. We live in a society where we are scared to say that out of fear of being accused of Sexism.
The numbers show that an audience for Women’s Football is growing. If England hosted a Women’s World Cup, tickets would sell far more than even as recently as five years ago.
Those in charge need to think of how to keep that momentum going, which Is why I suggested in the past occasionally getting 2 for one on your ticket, see a WSL and PL fixture on the same afternoon.
Yet despite the increase in ratings, the last Women’s World Cup was a third of the 1.12 billion people who tuned in for the men’s version.
Could the disparity in pay be smaller? Of course (and it will at the next World Cup).
Would it further help the female game grow? Of course.
Yet Football is no different to any other business, it’s priority Is to make money.
Where the BBC study tries to highlight how noble these sports are for equal pay, they wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t see a gap in the market.
Former UFC Champion Ronda Rousey has often said the sport didn’t do her a favour because she was female, at a time when interest in Fighting was waning, promoters saw that numbers for female fighting were huge and acted accordingly. She got paid more than her male peers because she brought more revenue in. That to me is the true meaning of gender equality.
In 2018 the Women’s Final of Wimbledon had more viewers than the men’s showpiece the following day. That’s why in tennis you can have that debate more than you can in Football.
Through ticket sales, marketing, TV distribution, there is not enough evidence that the interest is there for BT or Sky Sports to take a gamble.
Quite simply, Football makes so much money they don’t need to take the gamble and see if another version grows.
If any female team can garner enough commercialism it will be the American ladies team who as individuals have made their own lucrative deals. Yet what they can’t argue with as much as mini celebrities they have become in the US, it’s nothing compared to the noise that would be made if the men’s team did the same.
It’s a Chicken and egg situation. Interest in the likes of the Arsenal Women team will only grow if quality in the game improves. If it does the more investment it gets. That will only be improved if money is invested in the first place.
Football has enough spare money in the bank to invest, but is there enough of a reason?
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