England’s Lewes FC became the first professional club or semi-professional club in the world to award equal pay to men and women as a part of a club campaign called Equality FC, and raise awareness about gender disparity in football, the club announced on Wednesday.
The Sussex-based club play in the Isthmian League Division One South while the women ply their trade in the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division. The club also stated that it will try to raise funds through donors and sponsors.
The club has set out a number of objectives that focuses on achieving gender equality, which includes the allocation of budgets to the same level between men and women, and providing equal resource for coaching and conditioning staff, reported the Guardian. The report also added that investment will be pumped into the grassroots to encourage equal participation from girls and boys.
The director of Lewes FC, Jacquie Agnew hoped that the initiatve will spark off a trend across the United Kingdon, “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. 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,” Agnew said.
John Donoghue, the women’s first-team manager, said: “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.”