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FIFPro explains the equal pay deal for the men and women national teams in Norway.

The Norwegian Football Association has agreed to give both national football teams equal conditions on pay. Norway is the first country in the world to take such a step. Normally, women national teams receive vastly inferior terms to their male counterparts. Some even have to finance their own national team careers.

1. Why did Norway take this step?

It’s a joint initiative between Norwegian players and the national football association. The agreement helps support women players financially at the same time as promoting equality and respect for women’s football, according to Joachim Walltin, president of the national player union NISO. The union negotiated the deal with national-team representatives Ingrid Moe Wold and Stefan Johansen (pictured promoting an anti-racism campaign).The men’s national team has agreed to forego a total of $70,000 (USD), allowing both male and female players to share in the same-sized pool of money: about $750,000 (USD) per year.

2. Will other countries now follow Norway?

Women’s national teams in Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden are among those negotiating or about to discuss new terms with national associations. Those teams are receiving assistance from their respective player unions. The agreement in Norway might inspire associations to improve pay and conditions for women. Even before the Norwegian accord, the men’s national team of Denmark offered to redistribute some $75,000 (USD) to their female counterparts. Talks between the Danish women and their football association are ongoing.

3. What are conditions like for women's national teams elsewhere?

Some women’s national teams don’t even make it onto the field. Argentina and Chile recently went two years without playing a match because of a lack of commitment from their respective national associations. Cyprus has never entered European Championship or World Cup qualifying, prompting at least one national team player to quit out of frustration. Brazilian player Cristiane also quit, saying the national federation (CBF) has long ignored her calls for improved terms. The CBF agreed to meet players next week. Some national team players don't even get enough to cover their travel expenses: Argentine players get $8 per training session.

4. How can national federations get away with such inequality?

There are no rules in football that football’s 211 national associations must arrange games for a national team. About half of them have not entered teams in qualifying competitions for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. Nor are there any regulations that associations must compensate national-team players or even cover their expenses. FIFA last year announced financial incentives for associations in an effort to persuade them to spend more on women’s football. For example, the world ruling body agreed to make funds available to associations to pay for their national teams to travel to international women’s tournaments.

5. Why should women get comparable pay to men if they don’t generate as much revenue?

Many women national-team players have to juggle football with work because they earn little or nothing at their club. Some quit the game in the early 20s – before their prime - because they simply can’t afford to carry on, according to FIFPro research. The women’s game needs investment to keep elite players in the game, and encourage others to represent their country. Basing financial decisions on how much the women’s game currently generates will not spur significant growth.

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