If you’re anything like me, you’ve been consuming as much soccer as you possibly can – UEFA Champions League, International games, regular La Liga play, Bundesliga, National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) games, Major League Soccer (MLS) Playoffs, the occasional USL (lower league American soccer) game, and Liga Iberdrola. The more soccer, the better. However, this is about to change, slightly. Primera Iberdrola has voted to strike. After over a year of attempted negotiations, the players have approved the action by an overwhelming majority. While Asociación de Futbolistas Españoles (AFE) has not given an official date, several of the articles linked below list November 16 as a possible start date with no end date mentioned.
En la reunión informativa convocada por #AFEFútbol, las futbolistas de Primera División han decidido convocar HUELGA. En breve emitiremos un comunicado con toda la información. #ConvenioFemeninoYa #ElConvenioDeLaIgualdadDeAFE pic.twitter.com/5lmWux5M41— AFE (@afefutbol) October 22, 2019
Nearly 200 players met this week to discuss the failing negotiations with the clubs. (CD Tacon was represented by Ana Vallés, Malena Ortiz, Gema Prieto, Marina Martín and Sara Ezquerro.) They came in asking for a guaranteed forty hours of work per week, but then compromised saying that they would be okay with 30 hours. The clubs, however, have not moved from the 20 hours per week mark with some having contracts as low as a guarantee of twelve hours per week. At the same time, the players would also like to see provisions for maternity leave, vacation time, and injury leave built into their contracts. The other request they had was for a minimum salary of €16,000 – 20,000 to be put into place. For comparison, the minimum annual salary for La Liga players was increased back in 2015 to €155,000 per year for roughly 38.5 hours of guaranteed work per week.
While I would hate to miss out on any CD Tacon games, I fully stand behind our players and their requests. Nothing that they are asking for is unreasonable. In the US, NWSL women get paid a minimum of $16,538 per year. For England, the women average roughly £27,000 per year. In Germany, the women average €37,060 a year. (Note: these are averages where the rest of the numbers are minimum wages.) Parity with the men’s league is not currently in the picture for the women, but with the increase in popularity of women’s soccer, it’s only fair that they should see steady pay from their efforts at the very least. More than a few of our players, and players around the league, have other jobs to make ends meet or are also in school while they’re playing professionally. As for maternity leave, why hasn’t this been offered already? Same for getting injury leave covered. These both seem like basic rights a player should have. Maybe, in this case, a strike is just what is needed to get their point across and to affect change.