Of course you get prestige and celebrity, the honour of getting to play at Wembley Stadium, the amazing trophy and prize money, except that if you’re playing in the Women’s FA Cup Final, the prize will barely cover the cost of you getting there.
So one area that hopefully the FA will address, as they announce the launch of the next phase of their Premier League, Football League and Sport England girls football programme, is the prize money granted to participants in the Women’s FA Cup.
Yesterday winners Chelsea won the prize sum of £5,000 (compared to £1.8million won by Arsenal this year); runners up Notts County will have added just £2,000 to their coffers, which I’m sure will barely have covered the expenses for their trip to London. [Runners up of the men’s competition this year won just £900,000 in comparison.] They will also have been able to claim just half that offered to the male counterparts in expenses. Its a sad fact of life that the richer you are the less you have to pay for, but this is an inequity that is ridiculous.
Winners of the 2nd round of the men’s competition won £4,500 this year and 3rd round £7,500, whereas winners of the 2nd and 3rd round of the women’s competition won £300 and £400 respectively.
Although I am not advocating equal prize money, and realise that the draw of the men’s game is at the moment far above that of the women’s, since the ground was a just over a third full perhaps an increase of ten times the current rate of prize money would be appropriate, that would add vitally important funds to the women’s game and be a prize truly worth aiming for.
If, as I read last night, the FA have said that the Final will continue to be held at Wembley, while a fantastic thing for women’s football, the cost of staying in London overnight, travelling to London etc is one that the FA will have to help clubs with. Frankly it is ludicrous that a team should get all the kudos of reaching the Final of this most prestigious competition to end up out of pocket.