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England’s women’s team will receive a bonus of £55,000 each if they win the European Championship this summer, it can be revealed.
The deal is the most generous scheme ever agreed between the FA and players heading into a tournament, although the overall squad total of around £1.3million would be much lower than the bonus of £5m that England's men would have received if they had won last summer's Euros.
The women's bonus would represent a significantly higher percentage of the prize money on offer from Uefa, however. The winners of the women's tournament could receive up to just over €2m depending on how many Group Stage games they win, in contrast to the €34m that Italy took home after triumphing last summer.
And with an appearance fee of £2,000 per match, some players could take home more than £72,000 at the end of a successful tournament, which is more than many professional players in this country would earn over the course of two seasons.
The men's teams agreed several years ago to donate their appearance fees to charity because of the huge sums of money they are paid at club level, and although England’s female players understandably keep more of their bonuses as they are far less generously rewarded, sources have said the women's team have made charitable donations from their match fees on "several occasions" over the past tournament cycle.
Given the average wage in the Women’s Super League is less than £50,000, the size of the bonus this summer is a major incentive for England’s players.
Sources have told Telegraph Sport that the squad are delighted with the agreement with the FA, some privately describing the money as a “life-changing amount” which could even allow some of the younger members of the squad to buy their first home.
Female players continue to earn considerably less than their male counterparts but incomes have risen over the last ten to 15 years as the professional game has grown its appeal and commercial revenue streams.
The top earners in the WSL, like Arsenal’s Netherlands international Vivianne Miedema and Chelsea striker, Sam Kerr, take home in excess of £250,000 from their clubs.
But at the bottom end of the scale, young players, on their first professional contract, are understood to be on as little as £20,000-a-year.
That has made the bonuses on offer to England’s players this summer a major talking point for the players, who are determined to become the first English national team to win a major tournament since the men lifted the World Cup in 1966.
France offer £20k per player for Euro 2022 victory
In contrast, the French team, who are also among the favourites to win the tournament which begins when England take on Austria at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, have been offered a tournament win bonus of around £20,000 each.
A FA spokesperson said: “We do not comment on financial matters.”
On Tuesday Nadine Kessler, Uefa's head of women's football, admitted the women's competition's total amount of prize money was "not as much as we would all like" but said Uefa's investment means they will make a "significant loss" on the tournament.
"Of course, we understand that if you compare it directly to the men’s game, people are likely to have the opinion that it’s not enough," former Germany star Kessler said, speaking at a Euros launch event at Old Trafford. "The amount has doubled, but people also need to fairly judge the overall situation of this tournament. Uefa will run a significant loss for this tournament, an investment we are absolutely willing and wanting to make to further grow the game.
"Prize money is super important, we all understand the symbolic meaning of huge increases in terms of prize money, and I’m really sure, with the commercialisation of the women’s game going fast at the moment, that big jumps can be expected in the future. But it’s not the only area that we have to invest in. Tournament standards, promotion, the conditions around the team, there are many, many areas. And what if I compare it to 2017, where are we really? We're worlds apart.
"Also, money in women’s football is not limitless, so you have to figure out how to place investment and where to best put it strategically. Prize money is one part of that big picture but it’s not the only one, and maybe that’s why it is as it is today, with a big doubled amount but not as much as we would all like."
The Euros is not alone in seeing such disparity, as highlighted by Telegraph Sport's #CloseTheGap campaign in March. The Champions League this year saw £1.66billion on offer to the men’s clubs, in contrast to a mere £20m for the women, while 2022's men's World Cup will see a prize fund of £335m. The next Women's World Cup's prize pot is yet to be confirmed but so far only at least £46m has been guaranteed.