New Zealand Football announced today that, in a world first, the Football Ferns will have pay parity with the All Whites, as well as enjoying equal distribution of prize money, equal rights for image use and equality of access to business class travel while representing New Zealand.
This is a great step forward, for which our national body deserves high praise.
And it’s a victory for union power, as this was achieved as a result of collective bargaining.
And it’s vindication for the huge sacrifices that Abby Erceg and others have made along this journey dating right back to Barbara Cox’s staunch activism when she was our first national team captain in the 1970’s.
It’s also a victory against the naysayers who clogged the forums, the Stuff comments and even came here to ‘mansplain’ to us why things like this couldn’t be done during the Abby Erceg debate and at other times as well. Today they have been shown to be on the wrong side of history as this move is lauded by a wide range of people from across the political spectrum and the sporting public.
Football is leading the way and it feels great.
Last but not least, it should be noted that this is a victory for the male footballers who stood in solidarity with their female comrades and prioritised this bargaining claim even though it may well mean less for them.
The praise is not universal of course. But opposition to moves such as these is noticeably diminishing.
At the same time there are those who point out that ‘it’s about bloody time’ and there is still progress to be made – of course there are and there should be.
As a next step, I’d love to see all the clubs lauding this as great on their social media accounts today (as well as those that aren’t) commit to ensuring their men’s and women’s first teams receive equal funding, equal player payments, bonuses and incentives, equal publicity and equal quality of equipment and access to facilities.
But until then, congratulations to the Ferns, future Ferns, the NZ Professional Footballers Association and New Zealand Football on a job well done. I hope that younger players coming through take note of what can be achieved when you fight for your rights and organise collectively, and that they never forget what generations before them made possible. Their turn next!
Categories: Football Ferns
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.