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Denmark cancels Women's World Cup qualifier over pay dispute

October 18, 2017

The Danish team has been withdrawn from a 2019 Women's World Cup qualifier due to an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions. The country's FA could face disciplinary action over the move.

Frauenfußball EM 2017 Niederlande - Dänemark
Image: picture-alliance/Scanpix Denmark/A. Kjaerbye

The Danish football association (DBU) confirmed on Wednesday that it had pulled its women's team out of the 2019 World Cup qualifying match against Sweden, which had been scheduled for Friday in Gothenburg.

"The DBU has today told the Swedish FA that the players of the women's national team have not gathered in order to play the game, which will now not be played," DBU press officer Kim Hallberg said in a statement.

The statement said the DBU had also informed the world governing body, FIFA, of the decision, and that it "expects now a disciplinary decision."

The move came after the players missed a deadline that the DBU had imposed for them to return to the bargaining table over an ongoing dispute over pay.

The women, who last month forced the cancellation of a friendly against the Netherlands over the dispute, are demanding equal pay and rights as the men's national team.

DBU concessions

The DBU has said it was willing to increase annual payments to the women's team by two million kroner (€269,000, $316,000) to 4.6 million kroner, and a partial agreement between the two sides allowed Denmark's first World Cup qualifier, against Hungary to go ahead.

However, the two sides are thought to remain far from reaching a more permanent agreement.

"Many things are dividing us," DBU spokesman Hallberg told Denmark's TV2.

The fate of Denmark's qualifiers against Croatia, scheduled to be played next Tuesday near Zagreb, remains unclear.

Following their first match, Denmark are top of European qualifiying Group 4 on goal difference. Denmark made it to the final of last summer's Women's Euro, where they were defeated 4-2 by the Netherlands. 

Norway the groundbreaker

Earlier this month, the Norwegian football association became the world's first to offer its women players equal compensation to that of its men.

Back in April, the US women's team struck a new collective bargaining agreement with US Soccer, ending more than a year of at times contentious negotiations, with players seeking comparable compensation to the men's team. The specific terms of the agreement, which runs through 2021 were not released, but it is reported to include a significant increase in compensation.

pfd/jh (dpa, AP, Reuters)