“#It’sgoodtobeback,” declared the A-League Twittersphere.
“How far back were you thinking?” replied the W-League’s, whose teams are still in pre-season.
Today it’s emerged that Brisbane Roar’s W-League counterparts are being pressured to accept pay cuts of around 40%, with contracts signed just a month ago set not to be honoured by the franchise. The new contract lengths are also set to be reduced by a month, and an “import” informed she was no longer required.
This comes in part off the back of short-term, big-controversy managing director Daniel Cobb’s brief stint in charge of the Queensland club. The contracts were presented to the players around a week prior to Cobb’s dismissal, and were signed in good faith.
Brisbane Roar, somewhat perplexingly, have issued a statement in which they reiterate their commitment to “providing a positive environment our Westfield W-League, Hyundai A-League and Foxtel National Youth League sides”, yet do not elaborate on how recent actions will impact on the latter two, positively or otherwise.
The Roar reports to be in “positive” dialogue with their W-League players, and claim that the “Westfield W-League squad is an important part of the Roar family and will continue to be in the future.” What family member the W-League squad is thought to represent is unclear at this stage.
As evidenced by the aforementioned statement, there’s been no explanation as to why the woman’s team has been targeted by these cuts. Media reports at the time of writing this note that the W-Leaguers were informed that the contracts they had signed a month ago have now been deemed “excessive” by the new management, who have generously taken the Trumpian initiative to remind the women’s game of its true place in football’s great hierarchy.
To put the “excess” of the team’s contracts into context, ABC News reports that “Under the old agreement the total salaries bill for the women’s team was only $120,000, or about 5 per cent of the men’s salaries bill.” (The A-League report their salary cap for the 2016/17 season to be $2,600,000. It’s also worth noting here that the W-League cap was recently increased to $150,000, and a minimum spend of $35,000). Which, by my calculations, makes the reported $45,000 savings generated by the new W-League Roar players’ contracts utterly pathetic.
Players affected by the Roar’s move include the Australian Women’s team (the Matildas) co-captain Clare Polkinghorne, and her international team mates Tameka Butt and Katrina Gorry (who was named the 2014 Asian Football Confederation Player of the Year), the latter of whom, in a stroke of serendipity, was wrongly reported by the Herald Sun to earn the equivalent of around half of the Roar’s salary cap (including remuneration for turning out for the national side).ABC News also reports that concerns have been taken by the players union, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), to the Roar’s managing director Mark Kingsman, W-League’s boss Greg O’Rourke and to FFA head and committed Wellington Phoenix fan David Gallop.
Kingsman this evening reiterated his commitment to the development of the women’s game, fairness and the treatment of his female players as professionals and adults:
“We’re paying almost three times as much to the same number of girls as we were this time last year. That’s a tremendous step forward … The terms that were offered to the girls in August by the previous managing director were not sustainable … We’re working to find a resolution that will see the girls are not disadvantaged in any way shape or form.”
Waiheke Islander currently in exile in Wellington. Supporter of Nottingham Forest and England, through thick and thin (there's been plenty of that). As a player is somewhat averse to the offside rule.