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England women in pay dispute with FA

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Popularity of women's game has increased in England. (©GettyImages)
Popularity of women's game has increased in England. (©GettyImages).

PFA Chief Gordon Taylor has labelled the £18,000-a-year contract offer to England's top women players as "embarrassing", as he looks to reach a compromise with the Football Association.

The top English female players have been on a central contract of £16,000 a year since 2009, and the new offer from the FA offers an increase of £2,000 a year.

However the recent advancements of women's football in England and the introduction of the Women's Super League two years ago has seen attendances rise at league and international level, culminating in a crowd of 77,000 at Wembley as fans flocked to see Great Britain take on Brazil in the London Olympics.

League games have been screened live on ESPN along side a weekly highlights show, and the BBC have announced it will cover all England's matches at the European Championships this summer.

The PFA are negotiating with the FA on the players behalf and talks are thought to centre around the additional 24 hours per week the players are allowed to work.

England and Lincoln City defender Sophie Bradley works part-time at her parents care home to help subsidise her income, and she told BBC Sport: "I think it's now got to the point where we need to be rewarded because of the amount of people who are interested in watching us play and the progression of the game."

England's women are paid significantly less than their male counterparts, and Bradley added: "We are expected to have a part-time job and even though I live at home, for others with a mortgage, the cost of living is expensive.

"It's really hard, so it would be nice to play football full-time. The amount of work we put in, I wouldn't say we get the reward in terms of money."

England qualified as group winners for this summer's European Championships that are to be held in Sweden, following on from their quarter-final appearance in the World Cup in Germany 2011.

The success of the Super League in England has seen England regulars Kelly Smith, Alex Scott and recently goalkeeper Karen Bardsley return to play their football in England, and with many of the players back in pre-season training it's hoped that a solution to the dispute can be found sooner rather than later - England players went unpaid in December.

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