AAP Soccer

W-League must be protected: Gill

By AAP Newswire

As football manoeuvres its way through the financial burden of the coronavirus crisis, PFA deputy chief executive Kate Gill hopes the W-League won't be an early casualty of the shifting landscape.

The W-League's situation isn't as immediate as other competitions, as the season was fully completed - including a grand final played behind closed doors.

But like many women's sports, there are concerns football will be the first to feel the pinch of tightened purse strings.

"I think it's probably the conversation that's not being had - it's the one around women's sport and I'm really hoping that it doesn't become the first casualty off the back of this when we step into the new world and what that looks like," former Matildas captain Gill told AAP.

"It'd be very easy for most clubs to put a line through the balance sheet and say 'we can't do this anymore'.

"But I think we need to look at the rebuilding side of it to be a priority and actually grant the female players the respect that they deserve, then (ensure) when we're crafting broadcast and sponsorship deals moving into the future, that the female game is prominent in that."

The W-League's professionalism has progressed massively in recent years, through improved collective bargaining agreements.

The minimum wage for 2019-20 was $16,344 - a stark contrast to 2015-16, when 85 per cent of W-League players earned less than $5,000 for the season, with a quarter of them earning less than $500.

"We really can't afford to regress in any way," Gill said.

"The momentum that's been built is something that we need to capitalise on... because we can't really go back to the whole 'second class citizens' space that it sat in for such a long time.

"I think it actually provides an opportunity to double down on this and it becomes part of the new norm."

Meanwhile, Gill lauded the FFA's decision to continue to honour the Matildas' contracts, after last year's historic CBA agreement.

"The FFA have been fantastic in the way they've protected the Matildas through this," Gill said.

"Because they very easily could have stood them down as they are employees of theirs, but they said 'no, they are valuable employees of ours and the integrity of the deal we did with them around the CBA is something that needs to stand'.

"So I think it's the whole industry that needs to see this (women's football) as a priority - it can't just be one part of that championing it."