Lewes have penned an open letter to Karen Carney, chair of a major review that will delve into the future of women’s football, urging recommendations that address ongoing gender inequality when it comes to prize money in the FA Cup.
Lewes will face Manchester United in the Women’s FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday and point out that they have only earned £45,000 in prize money for their progress through the rounds. They describe it as ‘incomparable’ to the £450,000 their men’s team would have earned.
The FA relented to mass pressure last season and increased the total Women’s FA Cup prize fund for 2022/23 to £3m, up from just under £430,000 the year before. But while that was achieved by months of lobbying for improvement, the prize pot for the men’s competition grew by more than the entire fund for women – it went up by nearly £4m to £19.8m in total.
Despite slightly better financial rewards in the Women’s FA Cup, the gap is now even wider. Lewes have proposed splitting the almost £23m prize fund equally between the men’s and women’s competitions.
“We want an equal FA Cup with equal prize money for men and women,” the club wrote.
“Every season, female players up and down the football pyramid invest more time and personal resources into football. These are the demands of the growing game which are reflected in the constantly improving standard and product of women’s football.
“We are proud to drive the game forward, but we ask for fair reward.
“Sharing the total combined prize fund equally between men and women has the power to be transformative in the women’s game. It would allow clubs to invest more funds in player wages, facilities, equipment, medical care, staffing, travel costs and everything the women’s football pyramid needs to thrive and grow. Put simply, it will allow us to focus on football.”
Lewes are already blazing a trail for equality in football by operating their men’s and women’s teams on equal budgets.
The full letter, with the option to add your name to it, is available here.