Helsinki (28.08.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) The players in the Finnish men's national football team are prepared to cut their pay by 25 - 33 per cent in order to support the women's national team.

Following recent negotiations the new agreement on pay will be signed soon, confirms the Secretary general of the Football Association of Finland, Marco Casagrande to Yle news.

According to the agreement success in the international games like the Union of European Football Associations UEFA Nations League this autumn would bring money for women, too.

"If men are getting money prizes from Uefa, they are ready to give a part of this to women, too", Casagrande says. In effect, this means women would then receive some 10 - 20 per cent of the Uefa prize money available.

Debate and controversy over the huge differences between the income of top male and female professional sportsmen and sportswomen came to the fore in December 2017 when the three Nordic public broadcasters - NRK from Norway, SVT from Sweden and Yle from Finland - published a comprehensive report on gender issues in professional sport incomes.

The journalists revealed that in Finland - according to the tax register - a member of a women's national football team earned on average 17,298 euro a year. By contrast for the men's national team the average income was more than 400,000 euro a year. Some of them play professionally in foreign teams and their income information is based on estimates.

The Ombudsman for Equality raised the issue asking the Football Association of Finland whether there is a gender-based discrimination regarding pay.

The Ombudsman for Equality is an independent authority whose main duty is to supervise compliance with the Act on Equality between Women and Men.

Since the public broadcasters report a debate on the gender based pay gap in sports has received widespread attention in the Nordic countries. In Norway the basic pay of male and female football players have been set at the same level from the beginning of this year. In Denmark and Sweden pay negotiations led to strikes and strike threats.

The Finnish professional and semi-professional football players are organised in the Football Players Association of Finland. Established in 1992 the association represents the vast majority of players.

It is a member of the Suomen Huippu-urheilijoiden Unioni SHU, an umbrella organisation of five professional athletics associations with some 2,600 members.

SHU is since 2012 a member of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK.