Lewes FC becomes first to pay men and women the same
Sussex club hands equal budget to both sexes and same coaching and training facilities
A non-league football club from Sussex claims to have become the first professional or semi-professional outfit to pay its women's team the same as its men’s team.
Lewes FC, whose men’s side play in the Isthmian League Division One South, or Bostik South as it’s now known, and women's side in the Premier League Southern Division, have pledged to offer both teams an equal budget and the same coaching and training resources.
The men's budget is expected to remain the same with the women's funding increased through private backers and sponsors.
"We believe that there should be a level playing field for women in football," said Lewes FC director Jacquie Agnew. "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.
"Together with our owners, donors and sponsors, Lewes FC can show that equal pay can be implemented to the benefit of both women and men in sport and beyond."
The "unprecedented" move is part of the club's Equality FC campaign, which aims to drive equal participation in football from girls and boys, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The gulf between the men and women's game "was highlighted two years ago when it emerged England men’s captain Wayne Rooney earned £300,000 per week, while his female counterpart, Steph Houghton - who leads her country at the European Championship starting next week - netted £35,000 over an entire year," adds the paper.
As for Lewes, "both teams already play at the same home ground - the Dripping Pan - and will share Equality FC as their shirt sponsor next season," reports the BBC.