In landmark decision, women national football players to get same salary as menThe decision by All Nepal Football Association means women’s salaries will see an almost three-fold increase from January.
Ending nearly a decade-long disparity, All Nepal Football Association has decided to pay equal salaries to national men's and women's team members starting from January next year.
An executive committee meeting of the football association on Thursday made this decision, effecting an almost three-fold increment in the salaries of women national football players.
"It was our policy to make the salaries of male and female equal after the current committee was elected in May 2018,” said Karma Tsering Sherpa, president of the country’s football governing body. “Both male and female teams make equal contributions to the national team and there is no basis for discriminating against them in payment.”
The decision was welcomed by members of the women’s national team.
"The women footballers are very excited with the news and they have been sharing it two or three times on social media," said national women's team star forward Sabitra Bhandari. "The salary we got from ANFA was like the one we get from the government. But it was not even sufficient to pay rent in Kathmandu and the big increment has obviously made us happy."
While the men footballers at present get a monthly salary of Rs15,000 and women Rs7,000 both sets of national players will get equal payment of Rs18,000 beginning from January 2021.
“We have finally achieved our goal of making the payments for men and women players equal.," Sherpa said.
Sherpa was elected the president of ANFA in May 2018, ending the more than two-decade long regime of Ganesh Thapa and his allies in the football association.
The Cricket Association of Nepal decided in September for the first time to pay salaries to women cricket players. But there is still a huge gap between the scales for male and female cricketers in the country.
At present in football, the pay disparity is more than two-fold. The All Nepal Football Association started paying women footballers in 2011. While the men received Rs10,000 then, women footballers received Rs5,000. In 2015, women's salary was increased to Rs7,000 and men’s to Rs15,000.
"The increment in salary is a loud and clear message that women's football is developing in the country. It will motivate new players and also push the team to perform better. There will also be more competition for a place in the national squad now," said the 24-year-old Bhandari who is the record scorer for Nepali football team with 38 goals. “Initiatives for equal payment in European countries might have motivated ANFA to follow in their footsteps."
Bhandari hoped that the trend of national footballers quitting football to go abroad to work would now slow down with the new announcement.
Meanwhile, the executive committee meeting also decided to appoint former Nepali international midfielder Bal Gopal Maharjan as the acting head coach of the men's national team after Swedish coach Johan Kalin resigned from his post effective from November 1.
Kalin, who was appointed the national team head coach on March 1, 2019, had left for his country in March this year before Nepal announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus spread. He has not returned to Nepal since, owing to the Swedish travel restrictions. Under the Swede, Nepal played 11 matches including one against a Malaysian club. Nepal won one—against Chinese Taipei—drew two and lost eight matches.