Home Sport The labyrinth of the professionalization of women’s football: without employers, without television...

The labyrinth of the professionalization of women’s football: without employers, without television and with a minimum collective agreement

The labyrinth of the professionalization of women's football: without employers, without television and with a minimum collective agreement

  • Female soccer Demands that can lead to strike: “We don’t have a doctor, we don’t have minimums”

The female soccer in Spain took a step that seemed like a giant on June 15 when the Higher Sports Council (CSD) unanimously approved that it be the third competition in Spain considered professional. Thus, the commitment acquired by the Government of Pedro Sanchez, with Irene lozano in the presidency of the CSD, to promote equality in sport. The Ibredrola League will be renamed as They League and it would become a professional competition as the First and Second Divisions and the ACB League. However, the giant proved to have feet of clay too early. The professionalization of women’s soccer has become entangled in a bureaucratic maze that puts players on the brink of strike, has made them disappear from the television grid, has depleted their resources and even cost some teams sanctions with loss of points.

The reason for this entanglement is that the 16 clubs that are part of the Iberdrola League must agree on statutes that will guide the management of the new entity that will direct the competition, an employer’s association with a mandate over its associates. These constitution agreements will be supervised by the CSD, which requires that they be adopted unanimously. However, they have not been able to do so.

On the one hand, 12 clubs developed their proposal, which are part of the Association of Women’s Soccer Clubs (ACFF), created in 2015, and on the other they presented theirs Real Madrid, Bara and Athletic, which do not belong to the association. Only one remained neutral: Madrid CFF.

The problem is generated by commercial rights and, especially, audiovisual broadcasting rights. While the ACFF proposal was joint marketing that would guarantee a certain and known income to all, the three in disagreement defend their refusal to leave their rights in the hands of this body. Given the ‘war’ they have with La Liga de Javier Tebas because of the television cast, they do not want to repeat the formula. For this reason, they also refuse that the agreements of this employer that affect the statutes are adopted by a reinforced majority of two thirds and demand that there be a quorum of 90%, “which in fact supposes a right of veto”, lamented the Association in a statement last September.

They have been in this tug of war for almost six months, in which the competition, even by professional decree, is still in an amateur state or has even taken steps backwards. This conflict has prevented the economic exploitation of the competition and its increased visibility. Women’s football is experiencing a television blackout, since Mediapro He rescinded his contract when he saw how certain teams broadcast the games on their own networks. This has meant the loss of at least 200,000 euros per team. “It is a good pinch of our budget, which does not feed on the men’s club,” confesses one of the Association’s clubs.

In addition, without a professional manager constituted, the five million that the Government promised to include in the budgets starting in 2022 for the next three seasons are also on the air, in addition to 31 more that the CSD put on the table for the improvement of infrastructures.

From the Association, they insist that the delay is not due to a “lack of agreement” but to the fact that there are three clubs that are against the decisions supported by the rest. That is why it has asked the CSD on multiple occasions to put aside the unanimity it was seeking to impose a reinforced majority and move forward.

In the last conversations, the majority position claims to have incorporated into its draft statutes “minority group positions,resulting in a text that, despite not containing all the aspects defended by both parties, does respect the main sensitivities of both, “they said in a statement on November 13. But there is still no progress.

Players without doctors or pregnant

Despite the fact that the CDS assures that there is still room for an agreement, the consequences are already beginning to be felt. The players feel helpless and threaten a new strike, because all the progress in their collective agreement is endangered by this conflict that leaves them on the margins of professionalization.

In the first place, there are clubs to which the lack of resources (mainly television income) can put at risk the fulfillment of their contractual commitments with the players.

But, above all, it has a socio-labor component: the AFE union has denounced the first collective agreement of the soccer players that was approved in February 2020. It was a minimum agreement that I wanted to renegotiate to specify and improve aspects such as the minimum salary (set at 16,000 euros gross per year), the day, the compensation for preparation or training, the image exploitation rights, the wage guarantee fund or the reconciliation of family and work life.

It does not even establish the minimum conditions in which footballers must play. He was also passing over a matter of vital importance such as the maternity. In article 39 on conciliation of family and professional life it is limited to collect that “inIn the event of a Footballer’s pregnancy during her last contract season, the Footballer will have the right to choose either of the following two possibilities: a) Renewal of the contract for an additional season under the same conditions as in the last season. b) Non-renewal of the contract “.

In this sense, it should be updated with the new regulations of the FIFA that protects the rights of pregnant footballers, with paid time off and more protection during pregnancy and against dismissal or with the option that the team can cover the loss of the pregnant footballer with a temporary signing.

This case of a pregnant active player has just happened in Levante. Its captain, the international Mara Alharilla, temporarily leaves the competition to face her second motherhood, with the support of the club but missing that her rights are not better reflected in the collective agreement.

“But without employers there is no one with whom to negotiate the rights of women workers”, remember from the AFE. And that employer is still stranded for the moment.

And, meanwhile, sanction of the RFEF

The competition, legally declared as professional, continues to be supervised by the Spanish Federation, which assumes certain aspects of management and coordination of the competition during this process of constitution of the professional league. However, sanction with a fine of 602 euros and discount of three points in the classification to I raised, Villarreal and Real society for not wearing the patch with the RFEF identifying logo on the right sleeve of the shirt. The three clubs rebelled, like the players, who covered up their logo in the next game in protest.

All the clubs made their discomfort visible by stopping their matches for 30 seconds. “We are tired of not being in that professional league, we just want to have those conditions that we deserve“, he assures Silvia Messeguer, footballer for Atltico de Madrid and vice president of the Spanish Soccer Players Association (AFE). These conditions include that the teams have the obligation to have a doctor in the field so that what happened with Camila Sez, the Rayo player who received a blow to the head and had to be treated by the rival doctor.

The next measure they have already realized what it will be: a strike that paralyzes the competition.

Reference from elmundo