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Three women walk from Argentinian football team

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The players said they were told by the Argentine Football Association they would not be paid for the upcoming matches because they are taking place at home, in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital.
Argentinian football team

Three starters for the women’s Argentinian football team left in protest on Monday. Julieta Cruz, Laurina Oliveros, and Lorena Benítez announced they would refuse to train with and play for their national team ahead of two friendlies against Costa Rica next month.

The players said they were told by the Argentine Football Association they would not be paid for the upcoming matches because they are taking place at home, in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital.

Cruz took to Instagram to voice a series of complaints, including inadequate nutrition. She said players received a ham sandwich and banana for lunch during a national team training camp, and that their family members aren’t granted free admission to games.

What they said

Cruz said: “We reached a point in which we are tired of the injustices, of not being valued, not being heard and, even worse, being humiliated. We need improvements for Argentina’s women’s soccer national team, and I am not only talking about finances. I speak about training, having lunch, breakfast.”

The women’s decision has been supported by peers such as star player Estefanía Banini, who said it had “been a matter of time” before someone spoke out. Banini said: “Thanks for being willing to speak about it.”

Women’s Pay in Football

The dispute highlights the ongoing issue in women’s football of fair financial compensation. A survey of players from around the world ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup found two-thirds were taking paid or unpaid leave from their jobs to compete.

As the ANU has pointed out, working a second job leads to increased risk of burnout, which also leads to higher injury rates for female athletes compared to men.

Globally, one of the highest paid women’s soccer players is the US’ Alex Morgan, who receives $US800,000 ($AU1.2 million) from her club each year. The highest paid men’s player, Cristiano Ronaldo,receives a reported $US200 million ($AU300m) a year.

The pay gap is also reflected in World Cup prize money awarded by FIFA. In 2022 at the Men’s World Cup, $US440 million ($AU661m) was awarded throughout the tournament, while in 2023, at the Women’s World Cup, the prize money was $US110 million ($AU165m).

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