Dutch FA boosts women’s pay to reflect increased profile and success

By Samindra Kunti

December 15 – The Dutch FA (KNVB) has agreed to a significant pay rise for its national women’s team, but has shied away from the Norwegian model of equal payment to the men’s game. 

“It is nice that we have reached an agreement after some time,” said Dutch women’s international Lieke Martens, one of the representatives in the players’ council, in a statement. “This agreement gives us a sense of appreciation about what we have achieved in the past year.”

In the summer the Netherlands won Euro 2017 on home soil, defeating Denmark 4-2 in a spectacular final to top off a tournament of Orange football fever. The new pay scale is a reward for the performance and ensuing popularity of the team, according to the KNVB, but financial details of the deal were not disclosed.  The Dutch FA said that the new remuneration is a signification multiplication of what it previously was.

In general Dutch women’s players receive a salary of €600 to €2,300 a month and the new deal will allow the national team players to firmly focus on football careers. Dutch Minister for Sport Bruno Bruins had urged the KNVB to revise the salary gap between professional men’s and women’s football in the Netherlands and move the national women’s game away from amateur football.

“It is a recognition of the position that the Orange women occupy today,” said KNVB director Jan Dirk van der Zee, who is responsible for women’s football. “That was also the starting point of the FA. But it also ensures that Dutch women’s football can develop to an even higher level.”

The players will enjoy higher reimbursement for training camps and matches. “That was a wish from the team,” said van der Zee. “So we are very happy that we have reached an agreement on this.”

The Dutch women’s team will also receive a bonus if they qualify for the World Cup in 2019 or the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, but for all the improvements in the new agreement the Dutch women won’t receive equal pay, a model that the Norwegian FA (NFF) has followed.

“You can’t compare,” said Van der Zee. “The men earn a lot more at their clubs and do not always receive compensation. We also need to look at what comes in from commercial revenues. Part of the proceeds will be paid to the women’s players.”

Norway is the first country to pay both its men’s and women’s national team on par. Last Wednesday Norway’s men’s and women’s captains – Stefan Johansen and Maren Mjelde – and representatives of the NFF and Norway’s players’ association (NISO) signed an agreement on equal pay.

The agreement, will see a pay rise of 2.5 million Norwegian kroner ($302,750) in 2018 for the women’s team, with both national teams receiving six million kroner ($726,900) each next year, according to the NFF. Parity was reached after the 550,000 kroner ($60,000) Norway’s male players receive for commercial activities was allocated to the women’s team.

The NFF didn’t recognise women’s football until 1976, but is now a trailblazer in the fight for gender equality in the game. “It is very positive that Norway is a pioneer,” said the NFF general secretary Pal Bjerketvedt. “At the same time, this is a recognition for women’s football in general, and it’s amazing to see how much this means to the players and what enormous attention the issue has gained internationally. Players in the women’s team are increasingly being used in commercial contexts.”

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