Some teams in the early rounds of the Women's FA Cup are finding themselves at a deficit if they are drawn away from home, with the prize money on offer not sufficient enough to cover away costs.
Whereas winners of the men's competition in the third round were awarded £135k for reaching the next stage, the same stage of the women's competition sees winners receive just £1,250 - under 1% of that of their male counterparts.
News of the lowly fees comes after The Football Association invested more than £18m in its 'Game Plan for Growth' strategy for the women's game. However, at present, the money being handed to women's teams is, on some occasions, not enough to cover the overall costs playing away from home. Alongside Ipswich in the fourth tier's south-east region, the BBC claim there are 'at least' two other clubs who have been at a deficit due to the costs of an away tie.
The aforementioned figures come courtesy of the BBC, who also note that the winners of the competition outright will receive £25,000 - more than five times less than men's third-round winners.
"We've won five games in the competition now," Ipswich Town Women manager Joe Sheehan said. "We've had four ties at home. That's really helped us. But if you get two away games, you could end up actually at a deficit. That shouldn't be the case. It makes things difficult. You'd like to see a bigger reward."
However, prize money for both the male and female competitions in 2019/20 remained the same as the previous season.
An FA spokesperson said on the matter: "While we recognise there is currently a significant disparity between prize money for the men's and women's competitions, these are determined by the amounts of money generated through commercial revenue. The prize fund for the 2018-19 SSE Women's FA Cup was the largest in the history of the competition and over £252,000 was distributed across the competing teams."
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Women's Sport Trust admitted the unbalance is something they're aiming to solve, but understands the difficulty of the challenge.
"The Women's Sport Trust recognises the difficult balance required to create sustainable growth while taking natural opportunities to accelerate progress and make statements of intent," they added. "That said, a reappraisal of prize money could have a particularly positive impact on inclusion and profile of the women's game, not least in the earlier rounds."