Emma Hayes set for equal pay with USWNT job: Explaining the complexities around financial parity | OneFootball

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·17 November 2023

Emma Hayes set for equal pay with USWNT job: Explaining the complexities around financial parity

Article image:Emma Hayes set for equal pay with USWNT job: Explaining the complexities around financial parity

Emma Hayes is destined to be paid the same as the USMNT head coach when she steps into her new role as manager of the USWNT at the end of the season. Yet equal pay between men's and women's football is a deep-rooted issue and widely debated topic.

Parity among men's and women's football finances is hard to come by. Men's football has a more lucrative economic structure compared to the fairly infantile women's game.

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But Emma Hayes is making history, leaving Cobham for Chicago, taking up post as the head coach of the USWNT. And with such a high-profile appointment comes a high salary- £1.6m-a-year - equalling the wage of her new male counterpart and becoming the highest paid female coach ever.

In 2022, the US Football Federation committed to equal pay for both its men's and women's senior national team players through extensive bargaining arrangements. As part of her new contract, Hayes' salary will be aligned with that of Gregg Berhalter, the USMNT head coach.

Berhalter's yearly pay stands at £1.3m ($1.6m) according to the USSF's 2022 financial findings, but it has been reported that he received a salary increase having penned a new contract earlier in 2023. Aligned with this, the USWNT are expected to pay Hayes the same salary. Her predecessor, Vlatko Andonovski, was only paid $446,495-a-year while he was in charge of the team.

Hayes stated previously that she wanted a fresh challenge and the opportunity to develop a better work-life balance after being deprived of significant quality time with her five-year-old son, Harry.

Speaking of her new job, Hayes said it was "the only role" that could take her away from Chelsea, but insisted that the appointment was never about the illustrious salary.

"I worked in this job for £6,000-a-year at one point, then 12 grand, money has never been my motivator in life. I think focusing on that would be against who I am. I've made it clear where I am in my life and I don't think there's much else to say," Hayes declared.

When asked about the alleged parity between her salary and Berhalter's, Hayes declined to comment but said" "I've certainly been awarded the contract that I think I'm worth."

Gareth Southgate's belief in equal pay

Southgate has had his say / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

England men's manager Gareth Southgate weighed in on the issue earlier this week, saying equal pay in men's and women's football "is important" and has previously expressed his support of fair wages. But he highlighted the fact that the men's game ropes in far more commercial revenue, operating under a vastly more lucrative economic structure.

Southgate himself is on a reported £5m salary - a significant uplift compared to Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman and her annual £400,000 earnings.

The Three Lions manager expressed that equal pay may not be an easy discussion due to the financial complexities and factors that play a role in determining fair pay.

"Equal pay for same roles is important," Southgate said. "There's lots of economics behind that. For example, if you're a CEO of a company and you're male and a female it should be exactly the same.

"In football, the criteria depends on what the income is of the team. A League One manager wouldn’t get the same as a Premier League [manager]. A Premier League footballer would get more than a Championship footballer," Southgate added.

"I think with the U.S. Women's team they have huge economic power and success over a long time. It's probably a closer alignment between what the female and men's teams generate. Whether that's translatable for clubs or other national federations is an interesting debate to have."

Jonas Eidevall's club perspective

Eidevall is committed to change in the WSL / Paul Harding/GettyImages

Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall has vied with Hayes for dominance in the WSL and was surprised at her exit, believing that club football is where the development will be, with national teams given less priority than in years past. However, the Gunners boss agrees with the financial complexities that Southgate expressed.

"I think that Gareth Southgate [struck] that balance very well with what we all feel is right in principle but what might be the problem from a market perspective," Eidevall said.

Eidevall added that at the very top of the game where where the issue over equal pay needs to be addressed, but the issues seeping into the bottom of the pyramid require immediate correction.

"I still think we have a situation and PFA has done a really good job highlighting that. What the reality is for players in the WSL, we still know there is a lot of players - not in Arsenal but in the league - that still struggle to [fund] their whole life around playing professional football in WSL and that for me, that is of course a big problem when we're trying to build the league and to do that," he continued.

"So I think there are a lot of things we can address on that issue. I think that the FA and the one that has the overall responsibility of the game has a huge part to play in that where they value their compensations because that shows how they value the game."

This comes after the announcement that the Women's FA Cup would be doubling prize money, with the pot now standing at £6m. The total £26m prize money is shared on a 77-23 split between the men's and women's cups, with the men receiving an allocation of £20m.

The women's prize pot is still heavily weighted to benefit the top-tier teams, with the recent funding directed towards the third round proper - the round where the 12 Championship teams get entered into the competition - and beyond. Only 28 teams outside the professional game compete in the third round proper.

Last season's investment fell towards growing the prize fund for the earlier rounds of the competition from first round qualifying to the second round proper to benefit clubs lower down the pyramid. But there is a stark contrast between the financial gain for those in the top tiers and those further down.

Eidevall said: "We had that discussion about the FA Cup the other week, saying we increased the prize money, the gap is still very big over here so it is good that there is an increase but is it good enough and where does the FA want that competition to go in the future? Do they see that that can be an equal distribution, for example, about prize money because they want to put that price on equality and football and as a driving force or do they just see that what money we bring in is what we are going to distribute over there and let the market decide?

"So it's not an easy question, it's not an easy answer for it, but I think we are making a mistake if we are only looking at the top of the game. I think there is a lot of things to do at other parts of the game as well."

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