Australia’s football authority has announced that replicas of the national team’s away shirt will be available in women’s sizes, after a fan backlash. New kits for the women’s and men’s football teams, created by Nike, were unveiled last week. But it was later revealed that the away shirt would not be available in female sizes until 2021. Football Federation Australia (FFA) said on Wednesday the kits would now be ready for supporters in early 2021. In a statement, the FFA said the initial unavailability “was not consistent with the values in which FFA seeks to uphold and promote. The football body added that it would ensure future processes are aligned with the organization’s broader vision and mission for the sport. Manufacturer Nike also confirmed the news. It said it was committed to women’s football and serving our female athletes and consumers. Last week’s news prompted outcry from fans and players. Australian national player Elise Kellond-Knight wrote on Twitter the lack of women’s sizes was a fairly significant problem.
But the latest announcement has been welcomed by prominent figures in Australian football, including Moya Dodd, a former vice-captain of the national team. Australia’s women’s football team, known as The Matildas, are currently ranked seventh in the world. In 2019 the Matildas struck a historic deal with the FFA which means the top male and female players are on the same pay scale. However the men are likely to keep earning more due to the greater prize money on offer at their matches. Under the deal, both sides receive the same cut of commercial revenue such as advertising. They also now receive identical training conditions and other entitlements, such as business air travel, which had previously only been afforded to the lower-ranked men’s team. Australia and New Zealand are co-hosting the next Women’s World Cup tournament in 2023.