Spanish, Australian soccer federations avoid labour disputes with female athletes

Amid the threat of a strike, both the Spanish and Australian football federations each reached a deal with their nation's top female soccer players. 

Women's soccer pay gap yet to be resolved in U.S.

FC Barcelona women's soccer team is seen above during a Champions League match against FC Minsk earlier this month. The club is one of the 16 Spanish teams that will avoid a strike. (Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Amid the threat of a strike, both the Spanish and Australian football federations each reached a deal with their nation's top female soccer players. 

The Spanish soccer federation is offering $1.3 million US to help pay for the salaries of female players. 

The federation says the money will allow players in Spain to earn a minimum wage of at least $17,800 per year. The amount would be increased to at least $19,900 after the current television contracts with clubs are finalized. 

Players had announced the strike last month after failing to reach a deal with clubs over wages and working hours in the latest fight by female athletes worldwide for greater equality with men.

Federation president Luis Rubiales said Wednesday the minimum wage will be guaranteed to 18 players on each team.

Spain has 16 first-division women's clubs, but only a few are fully professional.

The strike was scheduled to begin this month.

Sam Kerr (20) of Australia runs with the ball during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France round Of 16 match between Norway and Australia at Stade de Nice on Jun. 22, 2019 in Nice, France. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Agreement met 'Down Under' 

Australia's football federation and players' union say they have agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement that closes the pay gap between the men's and women's national teams.

The new four-year CBA announced Wednesday ensures the Socceroos and Matildas receive a 24 per cent share of an agreed aggregate of generated revenues in 2019-20, rising by one per cent each year.

Under the agreement, players are entitled to 40 per cent of prize money upon qualifying for a FIFA World Cup, representing an increase from 30 per cent. That share of prize money increases to 50 per cent if they progress to the knockout stage of the competition.

"The new agreement reflects football's determination to address issues of gender equity in all facets of the game and build a sustainable financial model that rewards players as national team revenues increase," a joint statement said.

"Significantly for the Matildas, a new three-tiered centralized contract system will see Australia's finest women's footballers provided with increased annual remuneration with the tier 1 players earning the same amount as the top Socceroos."

The agreement still doesn't reflect equal remuneration: the Socceroos' prize money is exponentially greater than the Matildas at the World Cup.

Local media reported that at the 2018 men's World Cup in Russia, the Socceroos earned $5.5 million just for qualifying, and then failed to win a game. The Matildas earned about $700,000 for making the knockout stages at the Women's World Cup in France this year.

Critics say the women will still end up with a much smaller share and that the teams should share the same percentage of a total prize money pool.

Players in the United States, including stars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, filed a lawsuit in March against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging gender and pay discrimination between the men's and women's national teams.

The U.S. has won the last two Women's World Cup titles. A May 5 trial date has been set in Los Angeles.

With files from CBC Sports