WINDHOEK – Chairperson of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee for the Namibia Football Association (NFA), Hilda Basson-Namundjebo, believes time is ripe for a serious and comprehensive conversation around unequal and discriminatory pay structures in women football.
In a recent brief interview with New Era Sport, Basson-Namundjebo said the conservation around the inequalities in women football is already peak globally and relevant authorities are now listening to the cries of female footballers, especially about the thorny issue of unequal pay for men and women players.
Although various authorities and stakeholders are now becoming active participants in the discussion aimed at levelling the playing field for both male and female national team players, the allocation of funds and general material support remains the biggest stumbling block.
“I think there is a bit of movement now, compared to a few years ago when the conversation itself was not really entertained. You can even look at the USA women’s team that recently won the FIFA Women’s World Cup, they took it upon themselves to further the conversation by speaking truth to power, telling the USA football association that enough is enough and equal pay for all will no longer be negotiable. I believe it is high time we further that conversation even back here at home, because these things [unequal pay, uneven allocation of resources] are happening and we somehow don’t talk about them. I know resources are scarce but that cannot continue to be an excuse, as something needs to be done,” said Basson-Namundjebo.
Although actual figures regarding what Namibian female footballers earn remains under wraps and not in the public domain, it is no secret that Namibian male footballers and the senior men’s football team, the Brave Warriors, is materially and financially well resourced compared to their female counterparts, the Brave Gladiators.
The unequal salary structure in women football is not just a Namibian or African problem, as one of the biggest differences for male and female players was recently witnessed in the USA. Under separate bargaining agreements with United States Soccer Federation (USSF), male soccer players receive larger match bonuses while females receive smaller bonuses, but have guaranteed salary earnings.
For example, for the 2014 World Cup, USSF paid US$5.375 million in bonuses to the men’s team, which lost in the round of 16, while the US women’s team, which won the World Cup in 2015, received US$1.725 million in bonuses that year.
The pay issue goes beyond the United States. Another significant difference in pay outs can be found on the international stage in the bonus individual teams receive for participating in the World Cup, which is controlled by the FIFA. For the World Cup competition, US$400 million is dispersed among the 32 male soccer teams competing compared to US$30 million for the 24 female soccer teams competing. FIFA recently said it would increase the prize money for the next women’s World Cup to US$60 million, still well below the prize money for the men.
2019-07-22 11:47:35 30 days ago