MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Former WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson has given her support to Australia's women's soccer team in its fight with Football Federation Australia for increased wages.
Players on the team, which canceled a two-match tour of the United States to play the World Cup champions, have not been paid for two months. They are negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement in which they are seeking a salary increase and other benefits.
Jackson, Australia's best female basketball player, said Friday that the Matildas, as the women's team is known, are flag-bearers for women looking to be taken seriously in sport.
"It's time that we start being remunerated in a way that represents how important we are on the world stage," said Jackson, who did not play for the Seattle Storm this season due to knee surgery.
"There's a huge sacrifice for women in sport. When you are performing on the world stage and you are the best in the world, you should be treated that way."
The Matildas, who lost to Japan in the Women's World Cup quarterfinals earlier this year, want an increase in their yearly contract from 21,000 Australian dollars ($14,475) to 40,000 Australian dollars ($28,000).
FFA has refused to increase their salary, which is based over a six-month playing period, saying the raise was not sustainable.
The Australian team's pay issues also received support from U.S. players Hope Solo and Carli Lloyd.
Goalkeeper Solo tweeted: "Only #respect for @TheMatildas. Will miss competing against their great team, but proud of their fight for what's right! #equality," while midfielder Lloyd posted: "@TheMatildas are courageously fighting for what is right. #pricelessrolemodels."
U.S. Soccer said Haiti would replace Australia in the matches in Detroit on Sept. 17 and Birmingham, Alabama, on Sept. 20. Each match has sold more than 31,000 tickets.