The Flemish Women’s Council, Vrouwenraad, has this year granted its Auwch Award to the Belgian Football Union, URBSFA. The trophy, which is shaped like a cactus, is given to a person, organization or enterprise most noted for misogynistic statements, messages, measures or campaigns during the past year.
The Women’s Council singled out the URBSFA for its inegalitarian policy regarding finances and equipment. For instance, the members of the women’s national team, the Red Flames, were forced to compete in Euro 2017 with equipment from the men’s team, the Red Devils. Thus, their jerseys were not made for women and were too large for them, the Vrouwenraad noted.
However, from this year on, the Red Flames will receive jerseys specially designed for them.
The Council also denounced discrimination in allowances and salaries. The Red Flames receive only a fraction of the emoluments awarded to their male counterparts, whereas they train in the same way and play with as much intensity on the field.
In October, Norway’s football federation announced that its male and female players would be equally remunerated. Belgium’s federation responded by saying that much of the income generated by the Red Devils was given to the Red Flames, most of whose players were not professionals and were therefore compensated with an allowance from the federation.
The issue of equal pay has also been in discussion in Denmark and the United States.
Belgian football bosses have been holding on steadfastly to their position that men’s football has much greater economic value than women’s. The Council, on the other hand, prefers to point to a statement made by Tessa Wullaert, one of the stars of the Red Flames: Think long term, invest in women’s football and the returns will be all the greater.