Socceroos: Why we backed Matildas’ pay deal
PREMIER League star Mat Ryan says Matildas players deserve the same pay as the Socceroos because they are doing the "same work that requires the same level of sacrifice".
Ryan is one of the four senior Socceroos of recent times who helped to drive the landmark equal pay deal that will see the male and female senior national teams earn equal amounts for representing Australia.
As the Socceroos began to gather in Amman, Jordan, ahead of their World Cup qualifier there on Thursday night, the reverberations of the pay deal are still being felt globally.
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Ryan, the Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper who has spoken at length of the formative influence of his mother growing up, said the work involved for both national teams was the same.
"We believe strongly that the female players deserve what we deserve," Ryan said. "They are great people, role models and athletes, we don't see any difference between us and them.
"We are footballers wanting to represent our country at the highest level on the global stage, so our ambitions are the equal. It's the same work that requires the same level of sacrifice and dedication.
"Ultimately anything that can be done in order to allow anyone representing our great country to reach their full potential and give the best chance to be successful in doing so, I'll always be in support of and this does that.
"So I hope it allows them to reach new heights with their successes."
Ryan and his teammates are due to start arriving in Amman from early Monday local time, to prepare to face Jordan in what is being seen as the most testing encounter in this first phase of World Cup qualifying.
Players from the US women's team that won the World Cup are understood to have been in touch with their Australian counterparts to seek details of the pay structure ahead of their legal case against the US Soccer Federation.
The American women will seek a far greater reward when their class action comes to court in May, after continued attempts at mediation failed.
As part of it, the Socceroos will take a small cut to their match fees for each game they play, and will receive a smaller share of commercial income and prize money in the future in order to balance what they receive with the Matildas.
But there has been unanimous support for the deal among the men since it was first floated before last year's world Cup, and then presented to them by PFA CEO John Didulica in more detail in September last year, at Graham Arnold's first camp as head coach in Turkey.
Senior figures including Mile Jedinak, still playing and still captain at that point, Mark Milligan and Mathew Leckie were among the most vocal proponents of refashioning their pay deal to be part of a broader strategy.
"From the outset of the negotiations we were determined to achieve gender equality and reach an agreement that allowed our national teams to have the same world class platform to represent Australia on the international stage," Jedinak - who retired from international football in October last year but still sits on the PFA executive - told The Daily Telegraph.
"The Matildas are a team that have continued to push boundaries and achieve incredible outcomes on and off the pitch. The players are inspiring the next generation of players. We should be proud of this deal and celebrate them."