Emma Hayes to get equal pay for USWNT position: The complexities of financial parity

  • Emma Hayes will earn PS1.6m a year as the USWNT head coach, the same amount that the USMNT boss makes.
  • Gareth Southgate, England’s men’s manager believes in equal wages but is aware of its complexities
  • Jonas Eidevall, the Arsenal manager believes that pay problems already present in the WSL or below require immediate attention prior to equal pay being addressed at the top.

Emma Hayes will be paid exactly the same amount as the USMNT’s head coach, when she takes over as USWNT manager at the end the year. Equal pay for men and women in football has been a long-standing issue.

Men’s and Women’s Football Finances are not equal. The men’s sport has a much more profitable economic structure than the relatively infantile game of women’s football.

Emma Hayes, however, is the first woman to head the USWNT after leaving Cobham. With such an important appointment, Hayes will earn a salary of PS1.6m per year. This is equal to the new wage for her male counterpart. She becomes the highest-paid female coach in history.

The US Football Federation has committed, through extensive negotiations in 2022 to pay equal wages for its senior women’s national teams and men’s. Hayes will receive a salary that is aligned to the USMNT’s head coach Gregg Berhalter as part of her contract.

According to USSF financial results for 2022, Berhalter earns PS1.3m ($1.6m). However, it was reported that Berhalter received a pay increase after signing a contract in early 2023. Hayes is expected to receive the same pay as the USWNT. Hayes’ predecessor Vlatko andonovski was paid only $446.495 per year while in charge of her team.

Hayes had previously stated that she was looking for a new challenge, and an opportunity to achieve a better balance between work and life. This came after having been deprived of quality time spent with Harry, her 5-year-old child.

Hayes, when asked about her new position, said that it was the “only role” which could have taken her away from Chelsea. However, she insisted the appointment wasn’t about her illustrious pay.

Money has never motivated me in my life. I worked at this job once for PS6,000 a year, and then it was 12 grand. Focusing on money would go against my identity. Hayes said, “I’ve already made it very clear what I want to achieve in my life. I think I haven’t much more to say.”

Hayes refused to comment when asked if her pay was equal to Berhalter’s. She said, “I have been given the contract I believe I am worth.”

Gareth Southgate believes in equal pay

Gareth Southgate, the manager of England’s men’s team, spoke out on this issue in a statement earlier in the week. He said that equal pay for men and women in football was “important” and had previously stated his support for fair wages. He did, however, highlight the fact that men’s football generates far more revenue from commercial activities and operates under an economic system which is much more profitable.

Southgate’s reported salary is PS5m – this represents a substantial increase compared with Lionesses boss Sarina Weigman, who earns PS400,000 per year.

Three Lions’ manager said that discussing equal pay was not an easy topic due to financial complexity and other factors.

Southgate stated that it is crucial to pay equal wages for the same jobs. There’s a lot of economics that goes behind it. If you are a male CEO and female, the rules should be identical.

In football, the criteria is based on the revenue of the club. A League One [manager] wouldn’t receive the same salary as a Premier League manager. Southgate said that a Premier League player would receive more money than a Championship Footballer.

I think the U.S. women’s team has had a huge impact on American economy and achieved great success for a very long time. The female teams probably generate more than the men. It’s an interesting discussion to hold about whether that can be translated for other clubs or national federations.

Jonas Eidevall’s club perspective

Jonas Eidevall, the Arsenal manager, has been competing with Hayes to dominate the WSL. He was shocked at Hayes’ exit because he believed that the future of club football will come from the clubs, and national teams would be given less importance than they have in previous years. The Gunners manager agrees that Southgate’s comments about the complexity of finances are true.

Eidevall stated, “I believe that Gareth Southgate struck a very good balance with what we feel right in principle and what could be the issue from a marketing perspective.”

Eidevall said that the top level of play is where equal pay must be addressed. However, the problems seeping down to the base of the pyramid need immediate attention.

PFA did a great job of highlighting the situation. We know that there are many players – not just in Arsenal, but across the entire league – who struggle to make ends meet while playing in WSL. This is, for me, a major problem as we try to grow the league.

There are many things that we could address in this regard. The FA, and the person who has overall responsibility for the sport has an important role to play. They should value their compensations as that will show how much they value the match.

The Women’s FA Cup prize pot has now been doubled to PS6m. Total prize money of PS26m is split 77:23 between men’s cup and women’s cup, the latter receiving PS20m.

Women’s prize money is heavily geared towards top teams. Recent funding has been directed to the 3rd round proper, where 12 Championship teams are entered in the competition. In the actual third round, only 28 non-professional teams compete.

The investment made last season was aimed at increasing the prize money for earlier rounds, from the first-round qualifying round to the actual second round. This benefitted clubs further down the pyramid. There is an obvious difference in financial gains between clubs at the top and lower tiers.

Eidevall replied: “We discussed the FA Cup last week. We increased the prize-money, but the gap over here is still quite large. It is good to see an increase, but is it enough? And where would the FA like that competition in the future?” They want an equal price for football, so they are looking at prize money. Do they think that this can lead to a fair distribution? Or do they simply see it as what the market will decide, based on what they bring in and what they distribute there.

It’s an important question and it is not easy to answer, but I believe we make a mistake by only focusing on the top. There are many things that can be done in other areas of the game.

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