Spain’s female to strike over €8,000 annual pay offer
Almost 200 top-flight women’s footballers have voted to go on strike over pay and working conditions.
The vote won 93-per-cent support of 188 players from 16 clubs after over a year of failed talks with the Association of Women’s Football Clubs (ACFF).
Marta Corredera of the Spanish national side and Levante said it was not a call for equal pay. “We are aware that it is now or never,” she said. “We do not what to talk about equality with the men, we are only defending the rights we have as people and as workers.”
Clubs are offering part-time salaries worth €8,000 a year while the players are asking for at least €12,000 or about 75 per cent of a minimum full-time contract.
They are asking for a maternity policy, holiday leave and injury leave framework to be put in place across all clubs.
“We have spent more than a year negotiating, have had 18 meetings and negotiations have stagnated,” said Ainhoa Tirapu, goalkeeper for Athletic Bilbao and the national team. “We are footballers 24 hours a day, 100 per cent of the time when we go to sleep early because we train [in the morning], in how we look after ourselves in what we eat to be fit when we are completely available to promote our clubs.
“It is a difficult day for me, but it looked like negotiations were not going to move along… We are asking for minimal workers’ rights.
“We hope to reach an agreement at some point but we had to take drastic action because the time for women’s football is now.”
Last April, the Spanish Primera Division set a European domestic women’s game record with an attendance of 60,739 at the Wanda Metropolitano to watch Atletico Madrid versus Barcelona.
But when the two sides played again last month, Barca’s victory was not shown on television.
“It was disappointing,” Atletico’s Toni Duggan said this month. “Last season there were 60,000 people in the stadium and they can’t even televise the game the next season.
“If it’s like that, how you do build? How do you progress?”
David Aganzo, president of the Association of Women’s Players (AFE), said: “We want an agreement that is worthy and with equality.
“We have enjoyed talking about all the positive things in women’s football, many of them on show at the World Cup, but the players also need an improvement in their working conditions that recognise what they do. In the 21st century, women deserve respect.”
The Spanish national women’s team in 2018. Picture credit: Wikimedia