Spain’s top-flight female players have ended their strike for the opening two matchdays of the Liga F season after an agreement was reached between the league and the players’ unions over a new minimum wage.
The long-running dispute over pay and employment rights had seen the players call a strike last week, which would have meant no fixtures in Liga F until the weekend of September 30 at the earliest.
The players were asking for an improvement on the existing minimum yearly wage of €16,000 (£13.8k, $17.2k). They asked for a minimum salary of €25,000 this season, and for €30,000 next season.
An agreement has now been reached for a €21,500 minimum salary for this season, €22,500 for 2024-25 and €23,500 for 2025-26. Those amounts can increase by €2,000, €2,500 and €4,500 respectively, based on profits from commercial income.
This new agreement now replaces the previous pay structure, which had been agreed before Liga F turned fully professional in 2020.
“This step is the beginning and only part of the agreement,” FUTPRO, the association of Spanish professional female players, said in a statement.
“Now it is time to work to advance in such important points as maternity, harassment protocol, compensation list and others that we consider equally important for the correct development of the activity of our football players.”
Liga F had previously proposed an increase to €18,000, with further gradual rises that would take that sum to €25,000 in three seasons. The offer also included benefits such as childcare assistance for players’ children during training, specific spaces for breastfeeding and bursaries for studies.
During a meeting last Wednesday — just before the strike was called — which included the five unions that represent Spain’s female players, Liga F made another proposal: a €20,000 minimum wage, with a promise to review that figure again if the league generates more than €8m in commercial profit this season, in which case it would rise to €23,000.
Liga F said in a statement: “The commitment and repeated efforts of the clubs during the negotiation process have contributed fundamentally to achieving the much-needed peace scenario without losing sight of the sustainability of the competition.
“A scenario that we hope will show the way to the rest of the institutions that are part of Spanish sport and allow the project of women’s professional football to be promoted.”
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The 2023-24 Liga F season, which follows Spain Women’s historic World Cup win earlier this summer, will now begin on Friday. In the wake of the World Cup final and the incidents involving former RFEF (Spanish FA) president Luis Rubiales, 81 Spain Women players have said they will refuse a call-up to the national team.
Players’ Union AFE previously said the strike came after “a year of negotiations” that left them “facing the impossibility of reaching an agreement with authorities”.
This dispute dates back to October 2018, when negotiations first began over improving salary and working conditions.
Some 16 months later, in February 2020, a collective agreement was finally signed that satisfied both sides and set the €16,000 minimum wage.
Players had gone on strike on matchday nine of the 2019-20 season, and threatened further action, before the agreement was reached, the first such deal in the history of Spanish women’s football.
The opening weekend of the 2022-23 Liga F season was also suspended after match officials went on strike over working conditions.
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