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Why Are Primera Iberdrola Players Striking?

Multiple meetings and months of deliberation find both sides at an impasse

Asociación de Futbolistas Españoles (AFE)

Though some of us were excited for a Primera Iberdrola game this weekend, it looks like this may not be the case (according to one Managing Madrid commenter, we may have had the chance to watch this away game!). The Association of Spanish Footballers (Asociación de Futbolistas Españoles or AFE) released three separate communiqués this week regarding the strike that we first mentioned back in October. The requests of the women were as follows:

1) A minimum salary of €16,000 per year for all players getting 40 hours a week.

2) A minimum of 30 hours a week of guaranteed work with a salary of €12,000 per year.

3) Maternity leave, injury leave, and holiday leave.

In other words, basic rights and salary provisions to lead a decent life working as a professional footballer. As the Guardian noted: “These wages are low. They may be higher than Spain’s minimum wage of approximately €12,600 a year for 2019, but they are significantly lower than the average wage of Spanish workers which is €23,000, according to the country’s office of national statistics.”

Last week, RFEF offered enough funding to get 18 players per team to the €16,000 amount requested (€1.15 million) with the potential of an increase to €20,000 depending on what happens with media rights. This comes not too long after Mediapro offered to contribute €1.5 million to keep the players from striking. Both offers came with strings attached in the form of transferring ownership of some kind of the league’s media rights. Mediapro currently owns the rights to twelve of the sixteen top flight clubs through the 2021/2022 season (Tacon is one of the four whose rights were not a part of the deal). RFEF has offered €500,000 per team per season with the caveat that media rights need to return to RFEF starting in the 2022/2023 season.

Before we get into the arguments over whether or not each team can afford these demands, it is worth noting that each team is given €350,000 per season. If AFE were to accept RFEF’s offer, this would bring the amount given to clubs to €850,000 per season. For teams like FC Barcelona and CD Tacon/Real Madrid, this is chump change. For teams that exist without a men’s counterpart, like Madrid CFF, this is welcome assistance.

While the first demand is sufficiently addressed by the resolutions, these offers at no point address the second and third points of the footballers’ requests. These requests are also much less than what the men are offered as a part of their contract (had an injury like Marco Asensio’s happened to Jenni Hermoso or Kosovare Asllani, they would be struggling to make ends meet for the rest of the 2019/2020 season).

As a result, the players have decided to strike beginning this weekend and will end when a resolution is reached. Match week nine has officially been canceled.

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