A new PFA report published today reveals the experience of the Matildas during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The report arrives following the conclusion of a record-breaking A-League Women season and as the Matildas prepare to take on the world’s best at the 2024 Paris Olympics in July.

The PFA report is the most comprehensive public analysis of a Matildas’ international tournament and incorporates direct feedback from Matildas players via a PFA survey. It follows the PFA’s analysis of the Socceroos’ campaign at the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar.

Both reports provide the PFA and the broader Australian football community with insights from the experiences of Australia’s elite players at the pinnacle tournaments of world football, underscoring the crucial role the players play.

The report presents four pivotal recommendations. These recommendations, if implemented, could significantly contribute to the ongoing growth and success of women’s football:

A-League Women Professionalisation

The report’s first recommendation, A-League Women professionalisation, is a crucial step towards ensuring the continued growth of women’s football. This transition to full-time professionalism will not only enable players to maximise their potential but also foster the next generation of Matildas.

Equal World Cup Prize Money

As a result of extensive campaigning by the Matildas and other players, FIFA significantly increased tournament prize money for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. However, despite the Matildas’ remarkable performance at the tournament, their prize money was only a quarter of that awarded in the 2022 Men’s World Cup. While FIFA has suggested it plans to equalise prize money for the 2026-2027 cycle, it has made this commitment contingent on commercial outcomes. The report urges FIFA to make this commitment unconditional, recognising that investment in women’s football leads to commercial success.

Increased Club Solidarity Fund

The report’s third recommendation, an increased Club Solidarity Fund, is an urgent call to action. The Women’s World Cup Club Solidarity Fund for 2023 was US$11.5 million, just 5.5% of the men’s 2022 fund. To unlock investment opportunities and stimulate women’s football, a substantial increase in the Women’s World Cup Club Solidarity Fund for 2027 is imperative.

Player Input into Scheduling

The 2023 Women’s World Cup highlighted issues related to player workload, with some players facing excessive demands and others lacking sufficient rest. As the women’s football calendar expands, the report emphasises the importance of including players in decision-making processes. Ensuring player welfare and competition integrity will create a sustainable and thriving environment for women’s football.

Click here to download the report

Commenting on the report, PFA Co-Chief Executive Kathryn Gill said:

“The Women’s World Cup was transformational for football in Australia. It attracted unprecedented fan interest, unlocked vital government funding, delivered a significant windfall for Australian football through FIFA prize money and solidarity payments, and confirmed the commercial potential of women’s sport.

“Given the World Cup’s significant sporting and cultural impact, the objective of this report was to deeply understand the players’ experience during the tournament, their development journeys from grassroots to the international stage, and the strategic areas that require attention in the future.

“What emerged from the report is that the gender-equal 2019-2023 Collective Bargaining Agreement gave the players and Football Australia four years of elite, consistent preparation leading into the 2023 tournament, ensuring the high- performance standards were world class.

“While those areas of hard-fought progress have been maintained through the CBA secured in November last year, the players highlighted professionalisation of the A- League Women and better elite development pathways as immediate priorities to ensure the future success of Australian domestic football and, in turn, the sustained international competitiveness of the Matildas.”

PFA Executive Member and Matilda Tameka Yallop said:

“The World Cup was an unforgettable experience. The players were provided with a world class platform in the lead up to and during the tournament, setting us up for success on the pitch.

“Before the tournament, we spoke as Matildas about the importance of our World Cup legacy. The sport and the players must now deliver that legacy through increased investment from FIFA, professionalising the women’s game and ensuring player voices are inserted into the decisions that impact them.”

About the PFA’s Research

For players, understanding the game of football and the industry within which they are employed is critical to building meaningful lives and careers. To help support our players throughout their careers, the PFA conducts regular research to improve workplace conditions that shape the professional game and help players make informed decisions about their careers. A better-informed game leads to more impactful football education, analysis and decision-making.  PFA’s Research and Policy.