In response to a pay dispute with the Football Federation of Australia (FFA), The Matildas removed themselves from attending a training camp in Sydney on Tuesday and have spoken of boycotting two major games in an attempt to clarify their stance on the issue.
The dispute, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, was intended to be a discussion of bettered working conditions and an increase in pay.
The players, however, found the exchange to be “disrespectful”, which was exacerbated by the fact that their requests were rejected by the association.
As a result, the Matildas have announced that they will not board the flight to America to play the current world champions unless their requested changes are actioned.
Adam Vivian, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) has expressed that the players, unpaid for two months, would not attend after their negotiation with FFA was unsuccessful in securing them a new collective bargaining agreement, as told by the ABC.
Its statement said the players were subsequently no longer obligated to perform any Matildas-related activities following the expiration of their previous pay arrangement.
The decision to carry out the boycott was not made without consideration, according to Vivian.
“This decision has not been taken lightly, however the players feel they have been left with little option as the current proposal is simply unacceptable,” he says.
He goes on to suggest that the FFA has neglected to recognise the sacrifices the Matildas are forced to make for the opportunity to play football representing their country.
“Their proposal would see players continue to be unfairly remunerated for the work they undertake, denied access to a high performance environment, which dramatically reduces their ability to compete with the world’s best; and restricted in their ability to grow the women’s game.”
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Matildas say their list of demands included a pay rise from their contractual base salary of approximately $21,000 per annum (before match payments), contract flexibility allowing players to pursue international contracts while retaining Matildas deals, improved travel conditions on par with those of the Socceroos and other professional conditions to be improved.
Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams says the issue was handled in a manner that insulted and belittled the players, who expected the FFA chief executive officer David Gallop to attend.
“I think hurt is the best way to describe it,” Williams says.
“I think a lot of us felt disrespected today, I don’t even think there was any kind of negotiation, it think it was more of a brief meeting and then sent on our way.”