Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

ALEX BELL: Equal pay for equal work? The Scotland women’s World Cup squad will be paid a fraction of male counterparts

Scotland players during the training session at Oriam, Edinburgh.
Scotland players during the training session at Oriam, Edinburgh.

Scotland play England this weekend at the football World Cup. The nation can but dream.

Anyone trying to find standing room in a bar to watch the champions league final knows how popular football has become. Two English teams compete and Scotland’s soccer fans are enthralled.

Football is no longer about local clubs and Saturday afternoons. It is a global entertainment, an endless drama that crosses borders and cultures. Humanity’s loyalty to the beautiful game exceeds any religion with billions enthralled by the sight of people running around and kicking a ball.

Satellite TV changed things in the 1990s, pumping up the drama and spectacle, and bringing much more money. The first million-pound player was Trevor Francis, when he moved from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest. Now transfers for the best players approach £100 million.

The popularity of televised football also brought in middle class fans, and legitimised football as a classless entertainment. Everyone could enthuse, even if they’d never been to a game or kicked a ball. With this came even more money in the form of sponsors and advertising revenue.

With great wealth comes great inequality. Small national leagues like Scotland and the Netherlands get a fraction of the revenue that the Big Five (England, France, Spain, Italy and Germany) earn. The result is once great clubs like Celtic and Ajax can no longer afford top players.

That said, the wages at any club are a lot higher than before. Median income in Scotland is around £22,000 per year. There are players earning that a week. Football, like banking, turns young people into millionaires.

This too is unequally distributed. Male players get a lot more than female players. Unlike most jobs, football wages are determined by ability at the game plus “star” value. That said, wages for men have risen across the piece, regardless of skill.

Wages for women are consistently below that for men. The Scotland team that plays on Sunday in a World Cup match will be paid a fraction of what the men’s Scotland team gets, despite not having qualified for a World Cup in 22 years. Where market forces determine club wages, no such argument exists for national sides. That is why all the players in any national squad are paid the same fee. It’s just the men get more than the women.

At club level, it appears there is only one club in the whole world which pays men and women equally, Lewes FC (pronounced ‘lewis’) . It is a community-owned operation playing in an English league so junior you are unlikely to have heard of it – the Isthmian, told you.

Male players at Lewes FC have not reported alarming shrinkage in their sex organs or overwhelming feelings of emasculation, so it would seem to have done no harm to body or pride.

Equal pay for equal work is a point of law. As the vast majority of jobs are defined by length of time at work and the nature of the task, 90 minutes of football would appear to be the same job, no matter who does it. Thus the Scottish Football Association would appear to be acting illegally in discriminating against women.

However, as the SFA are a byword for incompetence and skullduggery, it’s no great surprise they should have messed this up. In 2017, before they competed in the European Championships, the women’s team went on strike in order to improve their wages and conditions from the SFA. This won some concessions, but not equality. The men’s team have not qualified for a European finals since 1996.

The SFA are not alone in discriminating. Governing bodies in many nations do not treat women footballers as well as the men. Dull men with a keen sense of their own importance seem to run the game. Oddly, this is one area where the football revolution of the 1990s hasn’t yet touched.

It’s as if gold were discovered beneath the feet of simpletons, who are still in charge.

Rachel Corsie will lead the team out against England in Nice. The odds are against her. England has a strong and experienced side. But when are the odds ever in favour of Scotland against our much larger neighbour?

Corsie can, though, take the field knowing all the drivel said about the men’s team doesn’t apply. There is no jinx, no predetermined script about hard luck and plucky failures to weigh them down. Just 11 players with 90 minutes ahead of them.

In that time, we can dream, and ooh and aah at the drama, and shout at the ref, and cry foul when it suits us. We can cheer a Scotland side that has achieved global success through hard work, that has earned its place among the best.

Should victory come, then we can all revel in the moment. Idiotic sport with its stupid rules and its glorious entertainment. What better way to honour the team than to grant all women players full equality with men. That would be a point of pride for all Scotland.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]