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Australia's major sporting codes pledge to close gender pay gap

Jessica Sergis of the Dragons is tackledduring the Women’s NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the New Zealand Warriors at ANZ Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. Image: Get
Jessica Sergis of the Dragons is tackledduring the Women’s NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the New Zealand Warriors at ANZ Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. Image: Get

Australia’s major sporting codes have signed up to overhaul the way they pay professional athletes in a bid to bring about gender pay equality in sport.

The Male Champions of Change Pathway to Pay Equality report outlines a systemic approach to achieve equal pay for male and female sports stars involving codes, sponsors and governments.

News Corp Australia reports that NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg, Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop, Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle and the chiefs of the AFL’s Collingwood, Geelong, St Kilda, Richmond, and Carlton clubs and nine other CEOs have all agreed to achieve equal pay.

The codes will self-assess against 16 measures each year, with corporate and administrative pay to be assessed under the same measures.

Male Champions of Change convener and UN special rapporteur Elizabeth Broderick says pay equality in sport will send a strong message to the broader society.

“It is unacceptable in 2019 that men and women playing the same sport don’t get the same base pay and conditions,” she told News Corp.

Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts says pay equality is synonymous with the Australian notion of “a fair go”.

“If anyone is really serious about embracing the notion of a fair go, they would be ready for pay equality in sport. I think contemporary Australians are definitely up for this,” he said.

Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie stopped short of committing to a recommendation that government funding should hinge on pay equity.

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said he was confused that other sports had not followed his sport’s lead in making prize money equal for men and women back in 2005.

“The target on this for all codes should not be tomorrow, it should be today,” he added.

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