Female players strike grinds Spanish football to halt

All eight fixtures in the top division of Spanish women’s football were postponed over the weekend due to player strike action.

The Association of Women's Football Clubs (ACFF) had been holding a series of meetings with the UGT, Futbolistas ON and AFE unions, but no agreement was reached on a number of issues, including the annual minimum wage and maternity measures.

All eight games were over the weekend were called off with Levante and Sporting de Huelva posting on social media to confirm their game would not go ahead after "both clubs decided to join the strike action.”

Games between Athletic Club and Tacon, Real Sociedad and Barcelona, Real Betis and Sevilla, Valencia and Atletico Madrid, Deportivo and Logrono and Madrid CFF and Rayo Vallecano were all called off, while Tenerife did not travel to Espanyol.

“The conciliation act concluded and no agreement has been reached with the Association of Women's Football Clubs, hence, the indefinite strike for first division games will go ahead and will start on the weekend of Nov. 16-17,” read a statement from AFE players union last month.

“Unfortunately, in the conciliation act, the clubs had no interest in unblocking this situation and on the contrary, they have discussed issues that had nothing to do with the aim of this meeting.

“The players that have called the strike are defending their workers' rights due to the non-existence, in the 21st century, of a collective agreement, even though there is an Equality Law in this country since 2007.

“These sportswomen are defending the present rights and especially, the future rights, thus committing to the new generations of footballers.”

In a press conference held last month, footballers confirmed that they will be holding a strike – with more than 93 percent of those who met in Madrid on the same day supporting the motion.

The ACFF has proposed employment status of part-time employed on 20 hours a week, but the unions continue to push for full-time status – guaranteeing an annual salary of €16k.

In addition to a change in status, the women footballers are hopeful of securing maternity policy, holiday leave and injury-related pay to be in place at all clubs.

Spanish laws obliges the parties to meet once more in attempt to sort an agreement and if this is not guaranteed, then the unions must notify clubs and sports bodies that strike action will be implemented.

“The reality is that footballers need a decent agreement to recognize their labour rights. They are football players 24 hours a day,” said David Aganzo, president of the AFE union.

Ainhoa ​​Tirapu, Athletic Club player and vice president of the AFE Women's Soccer Committee, added: “It is a hard day for me, but in light of the fact that negotiations could not be advanced…we asked for minimum rights as workers. 

“We have struggled to achieve our goals, we have lowered our red lines, but nothing has been achieved. Now we can fight and we are paving the way for other players. We must not be inactive and we must fight for our rights.”

Photo via AFE

Tags Spain