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Women’s Football in England = Slave Labor

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On Thursday we read that women footballers were paid £40 per day for the five weeks they spent in China representing their country and reaching the quarter finals of the 2007 Women’s World Cup.

That’s £1400 for 5 weeks, £280 per week or to roughly convert that into dollars, around $3k / month.

To give you a better idea, Nemanja Vidic’s 1-week’s worth of wages (under his new contract) are more than the entire amount paid to the England women’s team for their China trip.

The BBC talks about ‘minimum wage’, the hardship suffered by the players who have to support themselves and their families by working overtime to cover for lost wages (setup an online business ladies, let me know if you need help), and the English FA’s stance that they’re pumping more money than ever and that standards will improve soon.

All that is well and good. However, read this (Alex Stone, representing the FA on women’s football):

“We’ve been actually conducting a strategic review of the women’s league since June this year and the findings will be presented to FA board in early 2008.

And one of the key issues to work on for the FA is to find out how we can make that product more attractive to sponsors, broadcasters and people who want to come in and watch the game.

Clearly we hope that the finances we might generate filter through to the players.

Women’s football has made a breakthrough but clearly there’s a long way to go and we know that which is why we’re working incredibly hard to try and change that status quo.”

Once you wade your way past the PR schlitz you read that the money for the players will come through sponsorships. This might seem reasonable until you read this (by the same person):

“The money that goes into women’s football each year from the FA is currently at an all-time high – it’s £4.5m.”

I think out of that money, they could have spent £3000 per person instead of £1400 per person during the World Cup. Double the money, in other words. Is that too difficult to manage? Channeling the funds so that your most precious resources – the current crop of players who are role models and flagbearers for the future generations – can earn decent wages is not rocket science, it’s efficient management.

The Beeb has tried to stay somewhat ‘impartial’ but they’ve picked the wrong time to do so – seeing the numbers, I don’t see how they cannot afford to at least immediately double wages (and why it wasn’t done before). Matching the Americans will take time, but right now the FA aren’t doing enough, and while it’s understandable that money is tight it’s not being used correctly just the same.

Let’s put it this way – If you offered me these wages for the high-intensity work that footballers must do, I’d piss on your grave. The fact that these players are willing to sacrifice personal well-being for the sake of their country says a lot – maybe it’s time that they were compensated for it?

Comments (20)

  1. This is funny.

    The England mens team get paid commensurate to the popularity of the game.

    I personally don’t think they should be paid at all for respresenting the country.

    If the England womens team don’t like the salary then just don’t go. It’s as simple as that.

    Then the English FA would have to rethink it’s strategy of pay.

  2. Are these people having a laugh? Slave labour? If you offered me the chance to get paid £1,400 for kicking a ball around for a few weeks, I wouldn’t complain. I think you need to check your definitions of “Slave” and “Labour”, seriously, get a grip!

  3. Maybe if they didn’t play so shite they’d get paid more. And if you’d piss on the grave of someone who offered you that money for a few weeks of work, then you must be a richer man than most people

  4. And dude, slave labor? that’s an insult to people who’ve ever been slaves (my ancestors) and those who continue to be enslaved.

  5. That is sickening the lack of money they’re paid! Its not slave-labour, but is still really bad. Can’t stand sexism, its horific!

  6. Yeah, I was reading in the FourFourTwo magazine’s …Just Another Thing section a few months back and had 4 of the England girls players, and to think these girls play for England, Arsenal or Everton (Or whoever they play for in Club duties) plus handle a full-time job is simply amazing.

    I’m sure they love representing their country and they would play for free but the amount of momney in the UK and most football federations womens parts are terrible.

    But, we must remember that the womens football is still very, very young and is in the state mens football was in 8o-odd years ago, it has a long way to go..

  7. Must say I’m a bit confused by this article. I’m sure I see a load of women plaing football in the Premiere League every week and they get paid quite a lot. Maybe these other women you’re on about should try and play in that league too.

    Seriously though. Sounds like they get paid quite handsomely considering the commercial viability of the womens game. I don’t see this as slavery or sexism at all, just reality. When you look at what’s happened in Tennis that’s real sexism for you. Women play shorter matches at a much lower intensity allowing them to enter more tournaments/year. Then in the tournaments they get paid on a par with the men while not having to train as much. That’s sexism all right, towards men.

    As for this article, I can’t say I care really and the same must go for everyone else too. Surely if more people cared about, or wanted to watch, womens football then they’d be a load of overpaid women like their fellow footballers in the Premier League.

  8. I don’t really think I care about women whinging about getting paid for kicking a football around.

    Womens football just isn’t as popular as mens football so they are gonna get paid less. That is a fact. And is not sexism.

    Stop man hating. Hiding behind the “sexism” word is pathetic and they should really get a life.

    I wouldn’t mind gettin paid all that money and saying it is slavery is ridiculous. Slavery is when africans were kidnapped from their homeland and forced to work with little or no pay in conditions that would make sewers seem a nice place.

    Ahmed if you’re gonna write articles like this then stop being so one sided!

  9. slave labor no… but these women train hard just as the men do but yet still get paid rubbish wages. true im sure they love to play 4 the country jus as the men do but im sure fair should be fair. england men couldnt even qualify but still get paid outrageuos wages while the england women made it further than the men did. womens football needs more reconition for the standard of these ladies. the reason people may say they play shit ftball because your comparing it to mens standards…duhhhhh! dont do that, look at it as women standards then u’ll understand that it is what it is. paid them what they deserve!

  10. Oh well, if fair’s fair then we should start paying marathon runners 30k every time they finish a race. It is a lot harder than playing a game of football, which can net net some players in excess of 30k/week.

    No wait, we should do that with everything. Pay everyone what their worth in terms of how hard it is compared to a footballer. So a cleaner who works 8 hours a day should be getting about £750/day for their efforts.

    In case you’re so deluded you can recognise sarcasm, that last bit was it. Come on people. It’s crazy what male professional footballers get paid, but that is no reason to suggest women footballers deserve the same. The only reason footballers have got to such stupid wages is because of the amount of stupid football fans we have in this country who let it happen and in many cases actually want it.

    Hehe, football fans are so dumb and as for women football fans….. the ones that love the game are fine by me, the ones that love the celebrity/players legs should go home and put the tea on, IMHO.

  11. do you know what, i hear all these comments from men and personally i think you guys need to get a life to be honest, just accept there are women playing football to a high standard, doing a full time job and for most of the females, looking after there families as well. where in most cases the men wouldn’t even be able to put two and two together and make 4.

    their is alot of sexism regarding women’s football, plus stereotype that comes with playing the women’s game.

    if more money went into womens football, the game could be made more desirable, by playing on better pitches, being treated in a more proffessional manner, media coverage etc… better management of the clubs but money plays a huge factor in all this….

    if the americans can do it so can we, after all football is the most popular sport in england both men and women alike.

    and the comment the guy made about girls in the premiership getting paid and doesn’t undestand it, well i play in the premiership and i don’t get paid, yes u may get kit and boots ann that but gettting wages i think not.

    i believe money is a major factor, it can help to make a club become a more professional setting aswell as make the clubs desirable to every individual to play the game or even watch the game.

    only time will tell

  12. The American women’s league was canceled.

    And more money isn’t going to make the game less boring to watch.

  13. I would surmise from the impassioned, yet often inaccurate arguments above that the majority of the comments were based on knee-jerk responses; it appears little thought or research has been put into composing an insight into a contentious issue.
    I would like to imagine that any intelligent, thoughtful person, regardless of sex, would agree that in general, the current situation in womens’ professional football with comparison to mens’ is unfair. However, this is not the fault of the current crop of millionaire premiere league stars; it comes from decades of gender stereotyping and prejudice.
    Someone made the obeservation that womens’ football was relatively new. I would refer them to the following article excerpt:

    Women Banned in England and Scotland
    Despite being more popular than some men’s football events (one match saw a 53,000 strong crowd), women’s football in England and Scotland suffered a blow in 1921. The Football Association, in England, banned women from playing the game on Association members’ pitches, on the grounds that the game (as played by women) was distasteful. A similar decree was made by Scottish football authorities. Some speculated that these decisions may have been driven by envy of the large crowds that women’s matches attracted.[8] The ban led to the formation of the English Ladies Football Association, and women’s football matches were moved to rugby grounds and park football pitches not affiliated to the FA. The ban limited public exposure for women’s football and slowed its growth, but did not stop it. Women’s football continued to draw dedicated players and fans.

    The above is an example of the long lasting implications sexist and prejudiced views can cause. I would hope, as women footballers continue to prove their talent and dedication to the sport, outdated neanderthal attitudes will be replaced with support, enthusiasm and admiration for these hardworking players.

    Surely if you love ‘the beautiful game’, it should be a love based on the skill, the talent, the committment, the drive and the team spirit of players – race, sex and nationality should be irrelevant.

  14. i am a women football player and i think it is terrible that they dont get a decent wage and i is not there real job i think it is absolutly apolling and they should get at least a decent wage. they shoudlnt havto have another job because of the lack of pay they get. football shoud be a professinal job for both men and women.

  15. Thank you K for your post – everyone reading soccerlens who has an opinion about the women’s game should know the story of how the FA mutilated the women’s game – and that sort of story cuts right across europe (women were banned from the pitch in Germany up to 1970). The reason the women’s game is “underdeveloped” is because its popularity was once a threat to the authorities – the women’s game was cut off at the knees to protect the men’s game!

    I know that’s a tough bit of information for many soccer fans – male and female – to absorb. But that’s the fact.

    Note: In the US, the women’s 1996 Olympic team had to organize & threaten a strike during the Atlanta games – the US Olympic committee was planning that men should get more $$ if they medaled than the women. Surely we would expect parity to be the default position in the Olympic games – with its emphasis on amateur play. The women did negotiate for more parity in the medal award money – but not before fighting for it. And they won (beating China in a thriller 2-1 before a packed stadium of 50,000+, after knocking out their nemesis 1995 World Cup champions Norway in the semi-finals).

  16. its the womens choice to play for the wages they get.if it isn’t enough then get another job… simple as. if you were working at a supermarket and it didn’t pay enough you’d find another job. I can appreciate the issues in terms of fairness but essentially the money in the game is dictated by how many people watch the womens game. if there was more support there would be more money coming through the turnstiles and in turn more money for the clubs and players.

  17. i think tht is soooo sexist about women and tht men are getting paid soo much tht they dont know what to do with most of it i think tht the women should at least have a fair amount just like the men because tht is bang out of order who ever agrees press 123.

  18. i just dont get it i like football and want to be a womens footballer but not wen u get paid about 12,000 a year because in england you wouldnt be able to live on that. wen u get a job u just want 1 job not and extra job.
    it not that womens want to get paid millions it just they should a least get a salarary of 30,000 a year to a least live on and mens footballers should get paid 7.5 million a year god there are army lads working for 15,000 a year people in the army should be getting more then mens footballers. you dont get shot at or blown up being a footballer

  19. The men that are making rather strange comments on this site. I am a woman and i dont play football. I dont watch much either and thats because the game reminds me of men with big beer bellies that can barely run up a pitch let alone kick a ball up it. Hang out it pubs drinking than actually getting themselves a routine health plan. Most women that watch football like to just look at nice legs.I know because i’m a woman and its common. Those women that actually play have a real sense for sport and love the game for what its supposed to be for… health, fitness, excitement, challenging not forgetting the feel good factor. So guys (and girls) that just look and no action go and look in a mirror and tell your self….. is this something that i could do?…….no i didn’t think so