Women players must fill stadiums to get men’s wages – Houghton
By Andy Hayes, news reporter
Female football stars must fill stadiums before demanding the same wages as men, England captain Steph Houghton has said.
Speaking ahead of an international friendly against Brazil on Saturday, Houghton, who also captains Manchester City, said there was a "long way to go" before women players could claim equal pay.
England, who came fourth in the World Cup in the summer, have sold out Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium for the match against Brazil, offloading more than 30,000 tickets.
While more than 75,000 tickets have been sold for the Lionesses' match against Germany at Wembley in November.
"We talk about trying to fill out stadiums and we're fortunate enough as an English national team that we can do that now," Houghton said.
"But we have to make sure that fans are in our club stadiums. We don't want to be turning up to Manchester CFA (City's football academy, where the women's team plays) and there are only 1,000 people there."
Despite women's football attracting greater media coverage in recent years, average crowds at Women's Super League matches in England are less than 1,000.
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Houghton said the players had to capitalise on the women's game's "momentum" and "make sure that when we're on the pitch we're producing the goods so the fans come and watch us".
She added: "So then in turn we can be classed as being equal paid but I think we've still got a long way to go.
"We're heading in the right direction but in my opinion I don't think we're right there yet."