November 1, 2019 / 6:44 PM / 21 days ago

NWSL clubs get more money to pay top players

FILE PHOTO: A logo for the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) is seen inside the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts ahead of a media event with players from the North Carolina Courage and Chicago Red Stars teams, in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. October 27, 2019. REUTERS/Amy Tennery/File Photo

(Reuters) - 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, 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.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Clare Fallon

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