Finland is investigating if the national football association is discriminating against the women’s national team.
The female national-team players receive inferior pay and conditions to their male counterparts and the government equality ombudsman is looking into whether that is illegal.
“If men and women who have a similar position are rewarded differently, then there is a presumption of discrimination on the grounds of gender,” the ombudsman Jukka Maarianvaara said in a statement.
Gender discrimination is prohibited in Finland. National legislation requires sports organisations and federations which receive state subsidies to promote equality.
“We are doing the same work for the football association as the men, but we receive much less,” Tinja-Riikka Korpela, captain and goalkeeper of the women’s national team, told FIFPro.
“I hope this investigation will change things,” said Korpela, 31, who recently moved from Bayern Munich to Norwegian side Valerenga.
Markus Juhola, the executive manager of the Finnish player union (JPY), which helped the women players negotiate their latest deal, expects a decision by the ombudsman before summer.
Both national teams receive equal appearance fees but the women’s bonus scheme is inferior to the men’s.
“All the financial support and bonuses we can get from the FA are important,” said Korpela, who has played in Germany, Sweden, Finland and Norway.
“It is not big money, male players would hardly notice it if they received it, but for us every hundred euro means a lot, as some of our players have a job or are studying.
“Ideally, we would receive a monthly salary from the football association, so all players can concentrate on football.”
She said she had talked about gender equality with national team captain Tim Sparv, who supports the women players and understands their situation.
“Through the years we have been performing better than the men’s team,” Korpela said.
The Finnish women qualified for three successive European championship finals (2005, 2009 and 2013), while the men’s team has never qualified for a European Championship or World Cup.