21 Feb 2017

No pay rise for Football Ferns

2:03 pm on 21 February 2017

New Zealand Football won't be signing women's players on profesional contracts despite complaints from the country's most capped player.

The 27 year old Abby Erceg who has played 130 games for the Football Ferns is retiring from the internatioanl game saying the players aren't valued by New Zealand Football.

Abby Erceg, Japan, May 2015.

Abby Erceg, Japan, May 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Erceg says domestic based players are expected to train during the day so struggle to get a job to pay their bills.

But New Zealand Football chief executive Andy Martin says the domestic game is amateur and believes the best approach is to put money into programmes that help players develop.

"The problem is the gap between the amateur game and international game is so great , that normally an FA would run the international team and pick the athletes from the professional club game but we don't have that option here," said Martin.

NZ Football chief executive Andy Martin.

NZ Football chief executive Andy Martin. Photo: Photosport

"So what our team and coaches try to do is bridge that gap (between amateur and professional) to give the non-professional players a fastrack to get through to becoming a Football Fern which ultimately puts them on the international stage and gives them the opportunity to get signed by a pro-team," he said.

Martin said while disappointed by Erceg's comments she was "a legend in the game....and she's earned the right to have an opinion so I have no problem with that."

"The Ferns have gone from strength to strength in recent years and their funding leading into the Rio Olympic Games was the most it has ever been," said Martin.

That however has been cut for 2017 dropping from $800 thousand to $500 thousand.

The World No 19 Football Ferns leave for the Cyprus Cup on Thursday where they will play against Scotland, Austria and Korea Republic.