Professional football is a multi-billion pound business. With transfer fees and sponsorship deals, most professional footballers will earn more in a week than the average person can expect to earn in their wildest dreams – if that footballer is a man, that is.

Gender pay gaps have been headline news recently with the Government’s new law that all businesses with over 250 employees must publish how much all of their employees earn. This led to the BBC receiving criticism over the difference in pay between its high profile male and female TV personalities but it is far from the only industry with this problem.

The football industry has long seen a reality of gender inequality in its leagues (at one time women were even banned from playing) but to what extent is this reflected in its gender pay gap?

Salaries within the women’s game have seen considerable change over the past decade, especially with the introduction of professional women’s leagues including the two tiers of the Women’s Super League.

So let’s break it down…

Club Players

In the past, a salary cap has been placed on individual women’s players’ contracts but since the introduction of the Women’s Super League, the FA introduced a different kind of salary cap which allows clubs greater flexibility with contracts. Clubs can only use 40% of their annual turnovers on the wage bill but there are no minimum or maximum limits for individual salaries as long as the overall wage bill does not go over that 40%.

The FA hopes that this method will encourage women’s clubs to work on attracting more sponsors and bigger crowds in order to increase their turnover. Therefore, if teams can do this, their cap will go up to reflect this.

Unfortunately, with there being no minimum salary in place, this also means that there are some Women’s Super League players who are earning as little as £50 per week and are still having to work separate jobs to boost their earnings to enough to live on.

Playing for England

For the past five years, most England International players have been paid through central contracts that sit separately from their club contracts. Previously, England women’s players would go unpaid with many ending up out of pocket after paying for necessities like travel expenses. Now, 30 players are paid a minimum of £25,000 per year on the central contracts, rising to around £30,000 with appearance bonuses.

How Does it Compare?

Overall, a top bracket earner in women’s football such as Manchester City and England’s Steph Houghton, has the potential to earn around £70,000 per year including sponsors. In comparison, recent Everton signing, Wayne Rooney’s current yearly salary tops an astonishing £13 million.

While it’s safe to say, the popularity of women’s football is increasing with better sponsorship deals, larger crowds and higher TV viewing figures, the dizzying heights of the men’s multi millionaire players do seem a long way off.

But the question is, is Wayne Rooney really more than 186 times better than England women’s best?

If you are currently negotiating a sports contract or are involved in a sports contract dispute, Farleys sports law solicitors can help. Call the team on 0845 287 0939 or email us today.