Players at Spain’s highest level of women’s football will go on strike over issues related to salary and playing conditions.
It was originally planned for the new Liga F season to begin on Friday, but players have decided to strike for the first two games instead.
According to the Spanish Players’ Association (AFE), the strike was announced because an agreement that was considered “fair” could not be reached.
When Liga F became a professional league a year ago, negotiations began; however, the league claimed that the demands made by the players would result in “economic failure.”
The minimum wage was established at 16,000 euros (£13,700) during the previous season; however, players are proposing that the minimum income should be 25,000 euros for the 2023-24 campaign, and that it should increase to 30,000 euros during the season that follows.
The American Football Players Association (AEF) is the largest of a number of unions that are now negotiating on behalf of the players.
“The aim is to make progress in these negotiations, to achieve fair and dignified treatment for women footballers, (and) to address and reduce the existing pay gap,” the AFE said in a statement. “The aim is to make progress in these negotiations, to achieve fair and dignified treatment for women footballers.”
However, Liga F stated that they had previously offered the players a minimum salary of 18,000 euros, which will increase to 25,000 euros over the course of the following three seasons, assistance with childcare, and financial aid to study, amongst other possibilities; however, the players have declined these offers.
In a statement, the league claimed that despite the unions’ “blunt” answer, which showed “absolute immobility in their economic approaches,” they had returned with a 25% rise to the 16,000 salary, the abolition of part-time contracts, and other advantages, but all of these were voted down. The league also stated that despite the unions’ “blunt” response, which showed “absolute immobility in their economic approaches,” they had returned with an offer that included other benefits.
According to the further statement, “This Professional League will not give in to pressure or accept proposals that lead to the economic collapse of the competition and, as a result, the failure of women’s professional football.”
The first round of matches is set to take place between September 8-10, and the second round of matches is slated to take place between September 15-17.
The beginning of the Liga F season was similarly delayed the year before due to a strike that was initiated by referees who were demanding better pay and working conditions.
Since the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, was seen planting a kiss on Jenni Hermoso after Spain’s victory at the World Cup in August, women’s football in Spain has been at the center of a number of heated debates over the past few weeks.
Rubiales has been suspended, and head coach Jorge Vilda has been fired as a result of the incident, which Hermoso claims was not consensual despite the fact that it has cast a cloud on the accomplishments of the team.
Both Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh, who are both from England, make their living playing football for Barcelona, who have won the Liga F title an incredible eight times.