Football: Chloe Knott's Wellington Phoenix exit thrusts pay parity in women's sport into spotlight again

The issue of pay parity in women's sports has been thrust into the spotlight again, following the departure of Wellington Phoenix midfielder Chloe Knott.  

The 27-year-old has decided she can no longer afford to play football, and has been released from the rest of her contract, saying the financial strain of holding down a full-time job at the same time was unsustainable.  

Knott had been feeling the pressure since the start of the A-League Women's season and had been proactive in finding solutions to her struggles, as were the Phoenix in trying to help her.  

In a statement, Knott said "the decision to leave the team has been the toughest one I've ever had to make, and not something I have taken lightly."

The Phoenix are confident no other players feel the financial pressure that Knott did, and Newshub understands the majority of its women's squad earns $32,000 over the course of the nine-month season.  

The A-League Women's salary cap is set at $600,000 for the entire squad. That's in comparison to the men's league, which sits at $2.5 million.

Phoenix women's coach Paul Temple hopes the situation gets people talking to address the struggles many players are facing.  

"In a way, [Knott is] really brave," he said. "She's the first one to stand up and say 'this isn't sustainable'.  

"We need to be better at paying these athletes more and enabling them to be truly full-time."

The New Zealand Professional Footballers' Association has made its feelings clear, telling Newshub:   

"It is disappointing that in the same year New Zealand and Australia hosted a record-setting World Cup, which reportedly achieved over USD$570 million in revenue (over NZD$900 million), a female player has had to step away from professional football," it said.   

"Until professional football is a financially sustainable full-time occupation, we run the risk of losing talented players like Chloe.   

"NZPFA supports the Australian PFA in their work obtaining minimum contracts and working conditions through collective bargaining."