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W-League footballers pay to play

AAP logoAAP 23/09/2016 Ben McKay

A report has laid bare the woeful pay and conditions for W-League players as expectations ramp up on Football Federation Australia to improve the situation before the new season.

The Professional Footballers' Australia (PFA) report, which surveyed almost two-thirds of W-League players last season, suggests they could walk away from the game because of the financial strain.

Nine out of 10 players said they would consider leaving the sport early to pursue more-lucrative opportunities.

That's understandable when a quarter of W-League players were paid less than $500 for the 16-week season, and 10 per cent weren't paid at all.

With an average cost of $2237 worn by each W-League player to take part in the league, it's likely more players than not were out of pocket for their participation.

Only 15 per cent earned more than $5000 for the past season, which equates to $312 a week without factoring in pre-season training.

The AFL has instituted a $5000 minimum payment for the inaugural AFL Women's season, which will be run over eight weeks in February and March.

Bizarrely, some W-League players are paid more for their state league commitments than by their W-League clubs.

The report will inform the newly formed W-League Working Party, established last week by FFA and PFA, amid a climate of growing respect for women's sport.

That committee will look at the league's structure and format as well as club infrastructure and player conditions.

PFA chief executive John Didulica said the report showed "the depth of commitment the players have to their sport".

"The players are willing to go above and beyond to make their competition a success," he said.

"This research has been tabled with FFA and will be invaluable in assisting the W-League Working Party to identify the immediate priorities that need to be addressed to ensure the Westfield W-League can prosper."

The poor remuneration doesn't tell the whole story, with more than a dozen Matildas players also receiving contracts for their international service.

According to a News Corp Australia report, PFA would like to see at least 60 female footballers earning $60,000 each by the start of the 2017/18 season.

A collective bargaining agreement, minimum player payments and minimum medical conditions are also on the working party's agenda.

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