THE Bendigo Football Netball League would prefer clubs reduce football players' payments rather than raise those to netball players.
BFNL board chair Carol McKinstry said high payments to footballers put a burden on clubs to raise funds.
It follows chants of "equal pay" from spectators after the United States took home the FIFA Women's World Cup.
FIFA awarded a sum equivalent to just 7.5 per cent of the prize money given at the 2018 men's World Cup to teams competing at the women's World Cup.
Associate Professor McKinstry said while the league did not see players' contracts, a top-grade footballer might be being paid up to $1000 per game. Someone coming up through the ranks might get $50-$100 per game.
Most clubs would pay A-Grade netballers, but generally under $100 per game, she said.
Historical factors accounted for much of the difference, for instance it was not long since netballers were first paid, she said.
Associate Professor McKinstry said sadly she could not see netballers getting paid the same as footballers.
But she said over the years BFNL netballers had performed at a higher standard in terms of state ranking than footballers had.
"Netballers put just the same amount of work into preparation, they play with the same level of professionalism as what the footballers do," she said.
"When people say, 'Oh, more people come to watch the football', that's not the case, there's just as many people watching netball as there is football."
Associate Professsor McKinstry said the BFNL supported the reduction of football player payments but did not have a specific policy.
She said BFNL was looking for leadership from AFL Victoria, because the change would have to be statewide.
"It's really about trying to reduce the stress on the clubs so they don't have to raise as much money," she said.
"You see a lot of clubs where a lot of people putting hours and hours of work in that are volunteers. Then you see the players come along and put their hand out for payment.
"Sometimes you wonder, is it just a financial side of things motivating people, or are they wanting to play a good game of footy and enjoy it, and play it at the highest possible level?"
Associate Professor McKinstry said clubs faced tough competition attracting player, especially those closer to Melbourne, which made it challenging to reduce the salary cap.
"One of the issues for our league, we don't want to be seen as the cut price league, we're a major league, but on the other hand we really want to support our clubs and see the salary cap coming down," she said.
Gisborne Football Netball Club A Grade netballer Maddy Stewart said there were netballers who were "pretty hard done by" with what they were paid.
Ms Stewart said she was not someone who played for money, and could never go to another club for money.
She said netballers paid the same club fees, put in the same amount of time and effort, but had much worse facilities.
And the sacrifices higher level players made to compete were equal, she said.
Ms Stewart said lower pay for netballers suggested they were just there as an extra part of the club and footballers were the main attraction.
"It's really good to see that women's sport is becoming more recognised," she said.
"[Equal pay is] something that should be looked at. You can't have a local football club without having a netball club.
"When you look at the effort that some [netballers] put into the club, and they don't get as much regard as maybe an equivalent footballer would."
AFL Central Victoria commission member Meagan Keating said it wasn't about the money for netballers, but about making sure players were equal to footballers.
This meant having high quality facilities, along with many other factors.
Ms Keating said many clubs have achieved the change, but some were still working towards it.
"What's more important at grassroots level isn't so much about the cash factor, it's more about the inclusion of netball in the club. It's not seen as a football entity with some netball teams," Ms Keating said.
"It's recognition at presentation evenings, it's recognition after the game ... it's the structure of your volunteerism on match day.
"It's that there are uniforms for you, that there are social events for you, that there are opportunities to coach and umpire and grow not only as a player but in other roles as well."
Associate Professor McKinstry echoed this, saying netballers were generally motivated by the desire to play netball at the highest standard, rather than financial incentives.
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