PFA urges unions to support equal rights for England women’s players

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Sept 12 (Reuters) – England’s women players now deserve equal rights, Maheda Molango, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Union, told the TUC Congress on Tuesday that the difference in treatment of men and women was „simply unacceptable”.

At Congress, the UK’s highest union event, Molango said greater player involvement in decision-making was key.

„Our members need to be central to this process – shaping the future of the game for those who play now and those who follow in their footsteps,” said Molango in Liverpool.

„There’s no point in having a seat at the table when the decisions have already been made.”

The PFA’s plea comes amid the Lions’ dispute over bonus structures and commercial payments to the World Cup squad after a UK government-commissioned review by former player Karen Carney in July called for changes to the women’s game to increase professionalism.

„We want our legacy to be to leave the women’s game in a better place for those who follow us. That includes contracts, conditions and protection for players,” said Lucy Bronze, who helped England to second place in the Women’s World Cup. Cup, said in a statement.

„There is still a long way to go in women’s sport and it is time for everyone to come together to make the experience of being a professional footballer a positive one.”

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Molango urged fellow unions to support the implementation of Carney’s review recommendations, including the need to establish a Professional Football Negotiation and Consultative Committee (PFNCC) for the women’s game.

PFNCC, a group of stakeholders including the players’ union, is already present in the men’s game. The government is expected to publish its response to the recommendations in the review later this year.

„There are a lot of changes in the women’s game now,” said Lions Katie Jelem, who is a member of the PFA’s players’ board. „A lot of it is very positive, but it’s important that the players are part of that process and that our voices are heard.

„We want to be partners in taking the game forward. The men’s game has structures in place, which means players know they’ll be heard. We want the same.”

England’s female players do not have the same protections around contracts and conditions, and are out-fought by their male colleagues, and do not benefit from the same collective bargaining agreements in place in countries such as the US and Australia.

The Lions’ talks with the FA over bonuses suspended during the World Cup are expected to resume later this month.

Reporting by Christian Ratnedge Editing by Lori Ewing

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