4 February 2019
Lewes FC - open letter asking the Football Association to address the "vast differences" in FA Cup prize money. © James Boyes
Lewes FC have written an open letter and challenged The FA to pay equal prize money for the men’s and women’s FA Cup.
Lewes, the first and only football club in the world to pay its male and female players the same, highlighted that the total prize fund for the women’s FA Cup is £252,350 - less than 1 per cent of the men’s £30.25 million. Winners of the men’s FA Cup receive £3.6 m compared to the women’s £25,000.
Currently sitting ninth in the FA Women’s Championship, the Sussex-based club are determined to address the “vast differences” in the prize fund.
The club's directors said: "If we are all really serious about rapidly driving huge positive change in the women's game then the FA Cup prize fund provides a powerful mechanism to do so. Let's use it.
"What a story it would be for the world's most beloved domestic cup competition to become the Holy Grail that champions women's football into a whole new era.
“We know that you consider the FA Cup to be a good way to redistribute wealth to the grassroots in the men’s game.
“That same FA Cup provides an ideal mechanism for financially irrigating the women’s game. So we are suggesting a radical increase in the women’s FA Cup prize fund.
“Let’s get these prize funds to a level that we would all be able to tell our children about without embarrassment (try explaining the disparities in prize money to a child and you’ll see what we mean).
“That would at a stroke increase the level of focus and seriousness paid to the women’s game by existing clubs by an order of magnitude.”
Speaking on 5 Live's Stephen Nolan show, Women in Football CEO Jane Purdon said: "We absolutely welcome Lewes FC’s intervention here, particularly as they have done it in such a constructive way. They are a great club who have led from the front on the question of equality in football and on the specific question of the prize money, these figures look very stark.
“Obviously the women’s game doesn’t have the same economics as the men’s game, but it is a game very much on the up and the expectation therefore has to be that prize money numbers will start to shift up as well.” (to hear Jane's comments in full please click on the link here and listen from 1:08:48)
An FA spokesperson said: “Whilst we recognise there is currently a significant disparity between prize money for the men’s and women’s competitions, these are determined by the amounts of money generated through commercial revenue, including national and international broadcast rights.
“The FA Cup is the biggest revenue producer for the FA and currently generates £212m per annum. This revenue enables us to invest back into football at all levels and we have made significant progress to develop the women’s game as a result.
“We have invested over £18m into the ‘Game Plan for Growth’; our ambitious strategy for the women’s game, which plans to double participation, deliver professional and semi-professional women’s football and a successful England team.
“We are also currently developing a five-year strategy with the FA Women’s Super League and Championship clubs to grow audiences and revenues, which will help make women’s football in England more commercially viable in the future and allow further re-investment.”
To read the open letter in full click on the link here.
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