In honour of International Women's Day, Sophie Leyland, Client Support Team Leader for LIFT-Sport tells us about the increase they have seen in the number of female players they have been working with over the last year.
It’s also fantastic to see our team is made up of more than half of women, with myself, Michelle and Lucy working together to support all our clients. We’ve been working with many of the best in professional sport for many years; the majority of our clients are footballers. I am sure it won’t come as a shock that women within this industry face many differences from men, in particular in relation to their income.
The Bank of England tells us "players are being paid increasingly high wages because the clubs are making more money than ever". With this being the case, it is still a shock to hear that female players are earning significantly less. FourFourTwo reports "the average women's footballer salary is thought to be around £30,000. Starting salaries are supposedly around £20,000 and in the past, there have been reports of WSL players holding onto second jobs to supplement their income. Despite the league being professional in name, the reality for players at smaller clubs is that they are unlikely to earn that much money".
The pay gap between male and female players is vast, but this is mainly due to the audience and popularity that the male game brings in globally compared to the female game. Despite this, it is great to see that female football has become more popular over the past couple of years. We have begun to see an increase in broadcasting and reporting of women's football, which is bound to positively affect the interest in the female game going forward. An article by The Guardian revealed, “The Football Association pays women the same appearance money as men when they play for England”. This does however differ enormously for major tournaments because of the gender disparity in prize money offered by Fifa and Uefa.
It is clear that the popularity of women's football is on the increase. The Guardian reports “women and girls playing football in England has reached 3.4 million, confirming the Football Association has reached its target to double participation in three years”.
As well as this female players are beginning to receive more equal opportunities within the game. A recent article by the BBC shared, "The FA and PFA announced last week they had reached an agreement to include maternity and long-term sickness cover for the first time". Before this agreement, clubs were only required to pay statutory maternity salary, and if a female player was injured, they would only receive six months' pay. However, they will now get their basic wage for the first 18 months. Kelly Simmons- The FA's Director of the Women's Professional Game, commented "I am delighted we have been able to put this agreement in place and it is another significant step forward for the women's game… player welfare and wellbeing has always been our number one priority and this new policy ensures players are better supported, whether that's going on maternity leave or as a result of a long-term injury".
Going forward, LIFT-Sport aims to work with far more female sports professionals. Women's football popularity continues with children of school age getting involved and local female teams increasing across the UK. As popularity grows, this should hopefully increase their earning potential if not via their salary straight away at least through sponsorship deals. This means the team at LIFT-Sport will be able to assist players with reaching their financial goals and grow and protect their wealth.
If you think LIFT-Sport can help you create a financially secure future, why not get in touch today?
- Bank of England: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/knowledgebank/why-are-football-players-paid-so much#:~:text=Players%20are%20being%20paid%20increasingly,popular%20and%20so%20more%20profitable.
- FourFourTwo: https://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/how-much-are-womens-footballers-paid
- BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/60214733
- The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/sep/03/england-womens-and-mens-teams-receive-same-pay-fa-reveals
- The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/may/14/fa-hits-target-to-double-womens-football-participation-in-three-years-england-gameplan-for-growth