FIFA Pays Players for the First Time at the Women’s World Cup

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The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is here, and it’s set to make a massive impact on the sport. The women’s game is bigger than ever right now, and for the first time, female players will be paid directly by the competition’s governing body.

FIFA has promised sizeable payouts to all players in all participating teams, and there’s a sizeable bonus waiting for the tournament’s eventual winners. 

FIFA Women’s World Cup Bonuses

The 2023 Women’s World Cup has a massive $110 million in prize money, and $49 million of that will go toward the players. Players in all participating teams will collect around $30,000 (£24,000) each while the eventual winners will walk away with $270,000 (£217,000) each.

It marks a near 3-fold increase from the previous competition, showing you just how far the sport has come and suggesting that FIFA is willing to invest more money in supporting its growth. It also bodes well for the 2027 competition. It will be the tenth edition of the tournament, and if the game continues to grow at its current pace, there will be many more eyes on the tournament and many more top players competing for its biggest prize.

Image: Erik Geiger, 2020, Photo of Women Playing Soccer [online]

The Difference Maker

The best female players are thought to earn up to £250,000 a year, a fraction of the amount paid to many of the top stars in the men’s game. But this is just the cream of the crop—many players in the game’s top leagues are thought to earn around £20,000. It’s a lot more than they were earning several decades and even several years ago, and it’s enough for them to play full-time…but only just.

£20,000 may seem like a good wage for playing a sport you love. But it’s a sport that takes you when you’re young, discards you when you’re in your thirties, and leaves you with very few opportunities after that.

And this is just the top league and the best players. Many athletes playing at the World Cup are part-timers, and some of them could be earning just a few quid a week. It’s the equivalent of a 6th-tier team going up against Manchester United in the FA Cup, only it’s happening on the world stage.

For these players, that prize money makes a massive difference. It’s an incentive and a reward, but it’s also the biggest bonus that many of those players will ever see. It means that some players could scoop a bonus worth more than 10x their annual salary.

A Promising Future

It may take some time before the women’s game reaches the heights of the men’s game, and until that happens, we may never see equal pay. Simply put, the men’s game attracts more paying spectators and higher-paying sponsors, so there is more money to filter down to the players. 

But the women’s game is evolving at a rapid pace, and if major competitions like the European Championships and World Cup continue to draw a huge crowd in the women’s game, these bonus payouts will no doubt keep rising.

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