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Australia Players Union Writes to FIFA Over 'Discrimination' in WWC Prize Money

Professional Footballers Australia is not mincing its words when it comes to the prize money up for grabs at the Women's World Cup compared to that of last summer's men's World Cup.

PARIS — In what it says is the first step in a legal action, Professional Footballers Australia—the union that represents the Australian women’s and men’s national teams—has sent a new letter to FIFA in which it repeatedly uses the word “discrimination” to describe the prize money that FIFA has decided to award at the upcoming women’s World Cup ($30 million total) compared to the amount awarded at the 2018 men’s World Cup ($400 million).

The PFA first wrote to FIFA about its prize money concerns last October, not long after the first report of the amount of prize money FIFA was planning to award at France 2019.

In the PFA’s most recent letter, dated May 29, the union writes: “At no time since our initial letter has FIFA taken steps to address the substance of the matters we have raised or the discrimination which we have brought to its attention … It is clear that FIFA does not wish to substantively address this matter and certainly not in advance of the tournament.” (You can read the full letter here.)

In the letter, the PFA notes that the gap in World Cup prize money between the men and women actually increased by $27 million in the last four years—and then asks that the FIFA Council, which is set to meet in Paris on Monday, increase the prize money for this Women’s World Cup by at least that $27 million figure to a total of $57 million as a starting gesture.

“It is the first step of legal action,” Julius Ross, a spokesperson for the PFA said in a statement to “PFA has briefed an eminent legal team with deep experience in employment law, discrimination, gender pay disputes and human rights. We believe FIFA has, pursuant to its statutes, an obligation to mediate and arbitrate this matter.”

The PFA has published a website, in which it lays out its legal, economic and business cases for FIFA to award equal prize money for the Women’s World Cup, which the PFA argues would amount to $336 million.

(Full disclosure: Kathryn Gill, the deputy CEO of the PFA, will be a Fox Sports TV colleague during the Women’s World Cup.)