Women's £122m World Cup prize money to be paid directly to players

Megan Rapinoe and USA lift the World Cup in 2019 - Molly Darlington - AMA/Getty Images)
Megan Rapinoe and USA lift the World Cup in 2019 - Molly Darlington - AMA/Getty Images)

Players at next month’s Women’s World Cup will be paid by Fifa for the first time, with each of the 23 squad members of the winning side pocketing £217,000.

In a significant step forward for the female game, individuals competing at the tournament in Australia and New Zealand will be guaranteed to take home £24,000, with that sum rising the further their team progresses.

Given that the average global salary for a women’s footballer is $14,000 (£11,300), as highlighted in Fifa’s 2022 benchmarking report, some players could make more money in a fortnight than they earn in an entire season for their clubs.

Fifpro, the players’ union, hailed the move as “tremendous global collective action by over 150 national team players” but the money is still a fraction of the individual payments enjoyed by male players at a World Cup.

This summer’s Women’s World Cup will have a record amount of prize money of $152 million (£122 million) and although that represents a 300 per cent increase from the 2019 edition, it is still only around a third of $440 million (£353 million) prize pot at the men’s World Cup in Qatar.

Last October, Fifpro sent a letter to the global governing body on behalf of 150 players from 25 national teams – including players from England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland – calling for fairer financial conditions and a guarantee that at least 30 per cent of prize money would be allocated to participating players at the tournament.

“At our last respective Fifa World Cups, women earned less than seven per cent of the men’s prize money. That gap is significant in and of itself and tells only part of the story,” the union stated in the letter.

“Many players at the Women’s World Cup come into the tournament as amateurs or semi-professional, which undermines their preparation and, in turn, the quality of football we see on the pitch. Many players have no agreement with their Member Associations to ensure they receive fair and equitable treatment, including a guaranteed World Cup compensation, for example, as a portion of World Cup prize money.”

Previously, national associations were not required to distribute a minimum amount of World Cup prize money to players but under the new agreement, £88.5 million of Fifa’s total prize fund must be paid directly to players in each of the 32 team squads.

Fifa has previously said it is aiming for parity between the men’s and women’s tournaments by 2027, but with broadcast deals for next month’s tournament in several key markets yet to be reached, the governing body is understood to be shouldering more of the prize money compared to sponsors than it anticipated.

Last month, Fifa president Gianni Infantino revealed the offers from the major European broadcasters were so low they were a “slap in the face” to the players and “all women worldwide”.