NWSL allocates more money to pay top players

Clubs in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) will be allowed to boost salaries and pay premiums to top-end players to help them to attract the world's best talent, the U.S.-based league announced on Friday.

The nine clubs will each get an extra $300,000 in allocation money next season to pay top players more than the maximum permitted salary if they meet certain criteria.

The NWSL's maximum salary next season will be $50,000, up 8.2% from 2019, while the minimum salary will rise 20.9% to $20,000. The limit each team can spend on players, excluding allocation money, rises 19.3% to $650,000.

"The league's owners are committed to investing in our world-class players," NWSL President Amanda Duffy said in a statement.

"This is an important step in the growth of the league from which every NWSL player, current and future, will benefit and these changes will further enhance the league's global leadership in the women's game."

Among those eligible for allocation money will be players who have won more than three caps for their national team in the previous 24 months and domestic players who have completed at least five seasons in the NWSL.

The league also said there would no longer be a cap on teams assisting players in areas such as housing. Instead, housing would be provided for all players while under contract.

The NWSL's seventh season concluded Sunday when the North Carolina Courage defeated the Chicago Red Stars 4-0 in the league title game in Cary, North Carolina. A sellout crowd of 10,227 attended the championship game at Sahlen's Stadium.

The NWSL, whose average attendance rose nearly 22% to 7,337 per game in 2019, announced last week that it would add a new franchise in Louisville, Kentucky for the 2021 season.

Information from Reuters and the Associated Press was used in this report.