Lewes Football Club became the first professional or semi-professional club to pay their women’s team the same as its men’s team.
The Ryman League division one south outfit made the step as part of its Equality FC campaign.
The men compete in step eight while the ladies ply their trade in the Women’s Premier South, two divisions below the Women’s Super League One, where the likes of Chelsea Ladies, Manchester City Women and Aresenal Ladies compete.
Last seaon the Lewes Ladies triumphed in the National Plate after beating Huddersfield in the final and Leicester City in the semis.
Jacquie Agnew, Lewes FC Director, said: “At Lewes FC we believe that there should be a level playing field for women in football. By committing to paying our women’s and men’s teams equally, and providing equal resource for coaching, training and facilities, we hope to spark a change across the UK that will help put an end to the excuses for why such a deep pay disparity has persisted in our sport.”
In an unprecedented move, the club will establish a sustainable model of funding to support the women’s and men’s football teams on an equal basis.
The first tranche of funding for the campaign has been approved by the Lewes FC board and has established pay parity between the two teams.
This will include: Raising and setting the playing budgets for the women’s and men’s first teams at an equal level, Providing equal resource for coaching, performance and strength & conditioning staff, Upgrading equipment and facilities to meet the standards required by higher football divisions and Investment in local grassroots outreach to drive equal participation in football from girls and boys.
This announcement comes as part of the launch of the club’s campaign, Equality FC, to raise awareness about gender inequality in football. The campaign also aims to encourage more support for women’s and girls’ football across the UK and around the world.
John Donoghue, Lewes FC Women’s First Team Manager, added: “I am proud that Lewes FC has stepped up to launch the Equality FC campaign. Every day I see the passion and commitment our players have for the game, and I am sure this is mirrored across the country in women’s football. For female players to have the same rewards as their male counterparts for doing the same job is a fantastic leap forward for women’s football. This sends a powerful signal to not only our players and our club, but to the whole UK football community that women’s football deserves an equal voice and support to men’s.”
Darren Freeman, Lewes FC Men’s First Team Manager, stated: “We use the same pitch, the same facilities, the same ball. As football fans we all want our team to win regardless of gender. Parity means giving everyone the same opportunity and getting the same rewards.”