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Equal pay: Football Association of Wales agree landmark deal

Wales internationals Jess Fishlock, Aaron Ramsey, Sophie Ingle and Brennan Johnson
Wales internationals Jess Fishlock, Aaron Ramsey, Sophie Ingle and Brennan Johnson

Wales’ men’s and women’s senior players will be paid the same for representing their country for the first time.

The Football Association of Wales [FAW] have agreed a deal that will see equal pay come into effect immediately.

The Wales men’s senior team have agreed to a 25% pay cut to enable a 25% rise for the women’s team that will mean parity for representing Wales.

“I am really happy about the equal pay, it is about equality,” Wales boss Gemma Grainger explained.

“Together Stronger has been the mantra across the Cymru national teams for us all, both on and off the pitch as we look to put Wales on the world stage,” Wales’ men’s and women’s teams said in a joint statement.

“As part of the FAW’s strive towards equality, we are now proud to announce that together, our men’s and women’s teams have agreed to an equal pay structure for future international matches.

“We hope that this will allow future generations of boys and girls to see that there is equality across Welsh international football, which is important for society as a whole.”

The new equal pay agreement runs until 2027.

Wales’ women have never been paid the same as Wales’ men for playing international football, but Grainger, who recently signed a new deal to remain national team boss until 2027, says she feels paying her side equally will send a powerful message.

“We want our players to embody Together Stronger, the collaboration with the men’s team is something we want to continue,” she told BBC Sport Wales.

“Hopefully that collaboration will continue to grow.

“Equality and making sure what we have here is equal is so important to us. The women’s game is growing and will continue to grow.”

Wales join other nations such as United States of America, England, Brazil, Australia, Norway and New Zealand in paying their players the same international match fee.

Scotland women’s national football team are taking legal action against the Scottish FA in a fight over equal pay and conditions after talks broke down.

Discussions over agreeing a new pay deal to give parity to Wales’ women have been going on for well over a year, with talks initially taking place in November 2021.

FAW chief executive Noel Mooney has been in ongoing discussions with Wales women’s senior leadership group, which includes Wales’ most-capped player Jess Fishlock, women’s captain Sophie Ingle and Wales’ record goalscorer Helen Ward.

An agreement on equal pay was expedited by Wales’ men agreeing to a cut to their international match fee, with every member of Robert Page’s squad agreeing unanimously to do so.

“The FAW is a modern, progressive movement that seeks to improve each day,” Mooney said.

This is another step towards becoming one of the world’s great sports organisations and we thank both the men’s and women’s squads for their brilliant co-operation in getting this agreed.”

Analysis – BBC Sport Wales’ Michael Pearlman

Wales’ slogan since before the men’s incredibly successful European Championship campaign of 2016 has been ‘Together Stronger.’ For the first time, that slogan is a reality.

The notion of ‘Together Stronger’ carries significant meaning to Wales’ supporters, Cymru’s Red Wall, with Welsh football suddenly alive with a thriving fan culture. Wales, traditionally known as a rugby country, is now awash with bucket hats.

However, until now, Together Stronger has been an advertising slogan, albeit an extremely effective one. Now it can genuinely be seen as an ethos.

Not only have the FAW followed through on their promise to keep doing all they can to promote the women’s game – which is already receiving record revenues in Wales – they are now underlining to the world that they value the women’s team the same as the men’s.

There is a significance in the Wales men’s team agreeing to cut their match fee, because it shows they are supportive of what is hopefully going to be a landmark change in Welsh sport.

Women’s football in Wales has enjoyed an explosion in terms of popularity which is reflected in increased participation and record crowds for Gemma Grainger’s team.

The message to the young people of Wales is clear. Wales values the next Sophie Ingle the same as the next Aaron Ramsey.

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