Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) recently released ‘Professional Women’s Football: The Next Step’ to offer solutions to the challenges that Australian women’s football is facing. The PFA is seeking to increase the number of players who turn professional, encourage clubs take a long term view on investment and keep competitive balance in the W-League. One of the biggest goals is to attract and retain the best global talent amid the growth of European women’s football clubs. Similarly to FIFPRO’s Raising Our Game report, The Next Step provides a vision for women’s professional football.
PFA Co-Chief Executive Kathryn Gill spoke to FIFPRO about the report.
(Cover image: Sam Kerr, who played for Perth Glory in the W-League, before moving to clubs in the U.S. and U.K.)
Why did you decide to produce The Next Step?
We are trying to encourage greater professionalism and improved Collective Bargaining Agreements in Australian football. The document as a whole serves as a strategic lens of the PFA’s work while driving for plans of action at the federation and club level.
FIFPRO’s Raising Our Game report advocates that innovative and attractive competition designs, general working standards and CBA’s would greatly benefit women’s football. That is exactly what The Next Step is in a domestic context: information to build a strategy and secure the continuing development of women’s football in Australia.
What we have done is conduct the necessary research and publish our recommendations to spark the right discussions with the Football Federation Australia (FFA) and clubs. The Next Step is a brainstorming document meant to act as a catalyst for action and change in the W-League, as well as strengthen the pathway to our national team, the Matildas.
What are the PFA’s goals for the W-league?
Kathryn Gill – With the growth of the W-League, an organic connection has developed with the NWSL. The seasons have aligned allowing players to compete year-round in both the USA and Australia. We want to make the W-League the number one professional women’s league in the world. In order to compete with European clubs, we need to expand our financial capacity and create a secure professional environment with strong collective agreements to protect the players. That is our main goal. We also want to make the W-League a launching pad for players to develop with the possibility of lucrative European club deals.
What is the status of the Matildas in Australia?
Kathryn Gill – There has been a lot of research that proves that the Matildas have recently skyrocketed in popularity. They recently polled as the Australian national team with the strongest emotional connection to the Australian population. From the moment of our first CBA in 2015, the PFA has been pushing for professionalism and investment in women’s sports. The FFA has reacted positively and players that may have felt neglected before have experienced a turnaround. This gives us hope going forward.
The original article can be found here.