Brazil bring in pay equality for female footballers

Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) says women's national team members have been paid the same as the men for playing and preparation periods since March.

By Rory Jiwani

Brazil has become the latest nation to adopt pay equality for its female footballers.

As two-time reigning world champions the United States continue their battle for equal pay in the courts, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) announced on Wednesday (3 September) that it had been awarding women's national team players the same as the men since March.

The CBF's Twitter reported the news as, "At this Wednesday's press conference, an important measure was announced: the equalisation of payments made to players and players of the Brazilian National Teams."

CBF President Rogerio Caboclo said at that press conference, "Since March of this year, CBF has made an equal value in terms of prizes and daily rates between men's and women's football. That is, the players earn the same as the [men's] players during the call-ups."

Brazil's women have not played since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While there is still great disparity between what male and female footballers earn at club level, international football is seen as an opportunity to reward them equally.

Despite the continued presence of six-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta, Brazil's women have not enjoyed anywhere near the success of the men.

But recently they have made a big investment in the women's game with Pia Sundhage, who led USA to gold at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and Sweden to Rio 2016 silver, appointed as coach last July.

And this news can only improve their fortunes as they seek a first major global title after silver medals at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, and second place at the 2007 Women's World Cup.

"There is no more gender difference. The CBF is treating men and women equally." - CBF President Rogerio Caboclo

The pay equality movement

In 2016, five members of the US women's national team (USWNT) - Megan Rapinoe, Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Becky Sauerbrunn - filed a complaint with the country's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging wage discrimination.

The following year saw the team sign a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the US Soccer Federation but the frustration that the players still earn far less than the men, despite their far greater success on the pitch, remains.

Ahead of their defence of the Women's World Cup trophy in France last year, they filed a lawsuit against US Soccer alleging "institutionalised gender discrimination".

As they retained the title, fans chanted and held banners reading "equal pay!" with USWNT spokeswoman Molly Levinson saying, "At this moment of tremendous pride for America, the sad equation remains all too clear, and Americans won't stand for it anymore. These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher TV ratings but get paid less simply because they are women.

"It is time for the Federation to correct this disparity once and for all."

In May, a federal judge in California dismissed most of the players' claims - including one of discrimination under the Equal Pay Act - with USWNT quickly appealing that decision.

With the COVID-19 pandemic delaying court hearings, it is very likely a trial would not be heard until next year presenting potential complications in negotiating a new CBA when the current one expires at the end of 2021.

Meanwhile, other nations have decided equal pay is the way to go.

Norway was the first to announce that women's national team players would earn the same as the men with Australia and New Zealand following suit.