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W-League could get pay boost

AAP logoAAP 16/09/2016 Ben McKay

As competition heats up to pay higher wages to female athletes, FFA has admitted many W-League players have been playing for nothing.

As recently as last season, W-League clubs have used amateur players that receive no ongoing or match payments.

But that could change in time for season 2016/17, when FFA is expected to bring in new base standards to boost the sport at the bottom end of the national league.

Through Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), Australia's elite female footballers - the Matildas - fought for and won wage rises in September last year that included drawn-out negotiations and strike action.

That pay deal looped in the Socceroos, Matildas and A-League but left the W-League untouched.

Now, with new women's leagues from Netball Australia and the AFL to begin in 2017, FFA are likely to address the remuneration landscape in the W-League.

The salary cap for the national women's league is set at $150,000 per club, with a minimum spend of just $35,000.

The all-conquering Melbourne City side and Canberra United are the only two clubs that came within cooee of paying the cap last season, which would mean payments averaging $7,500 to each player in a 20-woman squad across the 16-week competition.

Teams that paid the minimum spend would have paid a 20-woman squad an average amount of just over $100 a week per player - with no recompense for pre-season.

Perth Glory, the 2014 W-League premiers, won the league paying their squad just $50,000 - or under $160 a week per player.

"There is currently no prescribed minimum wage for Westfield W-League players," an FFA spokesperson told AAP.

"FFA is in constructive dialogue with PFA about establishing a joint working group, including Westfield W-League clubs, to look at the growth and professionalisation of the competition as part of the overall commitment to women's football."

Matildas receive ongoing wages and match payments for their international commitments on top of W-League salaries.

Pay is one part of the equation for W-League players, with improved standards seen as equally important.

A groundbreaking SBS report published in May lifted the lid on poor training and medical conditions experienced by W-League players - including the denial of change rooms at some venues.

Earlier this year, PFA announced their intention to campaign for minimum medical standards for the W-League, after the introduction of similar measures for the A-League five years ago help cut down on injuries.

It's unclear how much money the naming rights sponsor for the W-League, Westfield, tips into the wage pool.

FFA chairman Steven Lowy is also the co-chief executive of the retail giant.

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