PFA Chief Executive Maheta Molango will use a speech at TUC Congress in Liverpool on Tuesday (12th September) to call for equal rights and conditions for female professional footballers.
The PFA’s intervention comes after the recent publication of the Government-commissioned review into women’s football. It also follows a dispute over bonus structures and commercial payments offered to the England World Cup squad.
The review, chaired by former Lioness Karen Carney MBE, highlighted the need for better standards of professionalisation for players in the women’s game and recommended that the Football Association (FA) properly fund “comprehensive and formalised” union representation for players in both the Women’s Super League (WSL) and the Women’s Championship.
Molango, the head of the players’ union, will use his speech to Congress to highlight the current lack of security around the contracts and conditions of female professionals. He will also call for the immediate implementation of structures, which already exist in the men’s game, to better protect players.
He will tell the audience in Liverpool that the disparity between male and female professionals in the English game “simply isn’t acceptable” and that far greater player involvement is needed in current discussions regarding the future structure and running of the women’s game.
Molango will say: “Our members need to be central to this process – shaping the future of the game both for those who play now, and for those who will follow in their footsteps.
“A seat at the table is no use when the decisions have already been made.”
Lioness and Manchester United Captain Katie Zelem, who is a member of the PFA’s elected Players’ Board, said: “There’s so much changing in the women’s game right now. Lots of it is really positive, but it’s important that the players are part of that process and that we get to have our voices heard.
“We want to be partners in taking the game forward and making sure that players are properly thought about and looked after.
“There are structures in place in the men’s game which mean players know they will be listened to. We need it to be the same for us.”
Fellow Lioness Lucy Bronze MBE, who last year moved to Barcelona after a long career in England at clubs including Liverpool and Manchester City, said: “We want our legacy to be that we leave the women’s game in a better place for those who follow us. That includes contracts, conditions and protections for players.
“There is still a long way to go in the women’s game, and now is the time for everyone to work together to make the experience of being a professional footballer as positive as it can be.”
The PFA’s motion to TUC Congress, the highest profile trade union event in the UK, will ask fellow trade unions to support the immediate implementation of recommendations from the independent review related to player conditions, including the need for the establishment of a Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee (PFNCC) for the women’s game.
The PFNCC, a committee of football’s stakeholders including the players’ union, already exists in the men’s game and ensures that there can be no unilateral or substantive changes to player conditions and contracts.
Government is expected to publish its response to the recommendations in the Independent Review later this year.