Soccer-Denmark men's team refuse pay rise to help support women's side

(Reuters) - Denmark's male footballers have decided to refuse a pay rise for playing for the national team in order to ensure their female counterparts get equal basic pay, the global players' union FIFPRO said on Friday.

The national football association (DBU) had been looking to ensure equal pay for both teams but players from both squads were not in favour of taking money from the men's team to pay the women.

The players' union, Spillerforeningen, and the men's players instead came up with a plan under which the men would refuse a pay rise and both teams would receive the same basic remuneration for appearing for the national side.

A 15% decrease in the men's team insurance coverage also allowed them to upgrade the women's team coverage by 50% as well as that of the Under-21 men's team by more than 40%.

The new four-year agreement with the DBU will come into effect after the European Championship which kicks off later on Friday.

"The men's team chose not to demand any changes in the conditions in their new agreement," Spillerforeningen's director Michael Sahl Hansen said in a statement.

"It's an extraordinary step to help improve the conditions of the women's national teams. So, instead of looking for better conditions for themselves, the players thought about supporting the women's team.

"When we presented the plan to the negotiations team, which consisted of Andreas Christensen, Thomas Delaney, Christian Eriksen, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Simon Kjaer and Kasper Schmeichel, they were very happy."

The plan also includes the players and the DBU jointly creating a clubhouse which can be used by all national teams -- men, women and youth teams -- as well as a development fund.

The fund will be partly paid for by the men's team when they qualify for the World Cup or Euros as well as the DBU, with both contributing one million Danish krone ($143,289).

"The players can make suggestions how to use the fund... they can propose to help create those facilities or support with the national team," Hansen added.

"This was what they wanted. It showed that they are taking the responsibility. They liked the idea of providing other national teams with better opportunities and conditions."

($1 = 6.9789 Danish crowns)

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)

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