Fan protests are planned across Women’s FA Cup fourth round ties this weekend to contest the disparity in prize money between the men’s and women’s competition.
The winners of the Women’s FA Cup currently receive £25,000, while a triumph for a men’s side in the competition’s Wembley showpiece sees them pocket £1.8m. The entire FA Cup prize pot in the women’s game is trumped by what the winners in the second round proper in the men’s game receive – a figure of £34,000.
The small prize fund allocation in the early rounds of the FA Cup has resulted in progression in the competition costing teams thousands of pounds, as the money received often will not cover their travel expenses.
This season, Clapton Community FC made history by becoming the first seventh tier side to reach the third round of the Women’s FA Cup – but were forced to set up a fundraising page so they could afford to make the trip to Plymouth for the tie.
To campaign against the prize money disparity, the Women’s Football Fan Collective are urging supporters at Women’s FA Cup ties across the fourth round weekend to join in with protest chanting in the 51st and 71st minute.
Supporters plan to chant: “No ifs, no buts, we want an equal FA Cup.”
“We invite all women’s football supporters to voice a collective demand for equal FA Cup prize money,” a statement from the Women’s Football Fan Collective reads. “Women’s football will never be financially viable as long as women footballers are not paid properly – and justly – for their work.”
“This is very important to support as the women’s game, even though thriving at the top, can still be seen as fragile at the bottom,” Natalie Burrell, a leading voice of Manchester United‘s famous ‘Barmy Army’ and supporter of the Women’s Football Fan Collective’s campaign, told 90min.
“My love for United is clear but I know that teams without massive men’s teams don’t have the same luxury. We need to ensure the whole pyramid is looked after. Things need to change.”
The choice of minute are both of particular significance, with the 51st minute marking 51 years since the FA banned women’s football, and the 71st minute representing 1971 – the year in which the women’s football ban in England was finally lifted.
The formation of the Women’s Football Fan Collective was triggered by Coventry United LFC being placed into liquidation in December 2021, with the aim to protect and promote the women’s game.