Footballers in the women’s Spanish top flight are pressing ahead with their planned strike this weekend, after failing to negotiate a new collective agreement with the clubs since voting to take action last month. Both of Saturday’s Primera División games were postponed with a further six matches affected on Sunday, including Barcelona’s trip to Real Sociedad, and Atlético Madrid’s visit to Valencia.
A breakdown in talks over a minimum salary and part-time contracts, after months of negotiations, saw 93% of the players vote in favour of a strike at a meeting in Madrid last month. The Spanish players’ union, the AFE, posted a video on social media featuring a number of top-flight players, including Spain and Atlético midfielder Silvia Meseguer. Players say they are fighting for former and current colleagues, and “for those who will one day be in our place”.
On Friday, UDG Tenerife did not to make the trip to Barcelona for their fixture at Espanyol after the team’s flight was severely delayed by technical problems. Tenerife had planned to travel and strike on Saturday. A statement on the club’s website said they would respect players and support the strike in the hope of reaching an agreement “for the sake of women’s football and generations to come”. Levante and Sporting de Huelva also confirmed on Twitter that their game would not go ahead.
The AFE is seeking an increase in minimum salary from €16,000 a year (£13,700) to €20,000 (£17,120) but the biggest stumbling block has been the failure to reach an agreement on part-time contracts. The players demanded part-time contracts have a minimum salary of €12,000 (£10,270) – 75% of the full-time salary. The clubs argued it should be 50%, or €8,000 (£6,850).
A meeting between the AFE, the league body, the Association of Women’s Football Clubs (ACFF), and Spain’s football federation (RFEF) on 6 November failed to reach an agreement. Mediapro, the broadcaster which holds the league’s broadcast rights for 12 of the 16 teams, had offered €1.5m to fund the wage shortfall and end its exclusive contract.
The Spanish FA was not willing to allow Mediapro to retain any broadcast package, and would only agree to deal that saw the RFEF reclaim all commercial rights from the ACFF, in return for plugging the funding deficit.
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