The #BootsOff Campaign Is Urging The AFL To Pay Women’s Players Fairly

It’s a pretty big day in the history of Australian rules football. For the first time ever, a draft will be held this afternoon to populate the inaugural AFL Women’s league.

Eight teams have gathered in Melbourne to select 145 players that will comprise the first ever national women’s league playing lists, selecting the nation’s elite and best players from a nomination pool of some 1,300 (!!!).
But the debate and specifics over the league still rage on, particularly when it comes to the pay offer put forth by the AFL.
Now, there’s quite obviously a lot to be said about how payment and revenue for the AFL works, and how that affects any pay offer extended to the players. The AFL Women’s league, for better or worse, is still *something* of an unknown quantity, and is yet to secure TV broadcast rights, major sponsorship, and other associated deals that comprise the bulk of the league’s revenue. And the fact that the AFL technically operates as a not-for-profit organisation means that any money put aside now for the women’s league has to be taken from some other area of investment.
BUT WITH ALL THAT SAID, the fact that the AFL found $200million to buy Etihad Stadium no more than 5 days ago, yet they still can’t find the cash to offer the women’s players minimum deals of anything more than $5,000 with no health insurance beggars belief, frankly. Particularly given that that means the entire playing fraternity will cost less than the average salary of a single male player.
This is not to suggest that the AFL Women’s players should command salaries that match those of their male counterparts; that, unfortunately, requires time. But anything below a living wage for whatever small amount of time (the league will run in a shortened, abridged format for the first year or so) the players need to commit full-time hours to is pretty unacceptable.
A social media campaign, launched today in conjunction with the draft, is getting people to take their boots off to urge Gillon McLachlan and the AFL to come to the table with a more satisfactory pay offer.
#BootsOff has already seen swathes of people post shoe-less photos online as a mark of solidarity with the women’s players.

Channel 7‘s broadcast of the women’s all-star game was a ratings hit, drawing the highest ratings of any non-finals Saturday night football broadcast. The league has also announced that NAB has climbed on board as the naming sponsor for the inaugural season, and clubs have asserted that businesses are “clamouring” to get on board with the women’s teams.

Despite this, the AFL is yet to budge on their pay offer.

Source: Twitter.
Photo: Fiona Fair-Pay/Twitter.