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Primera División Femenina referees announce strike over employment & economic conditions

The announcement comes just two days before the start of the new Liga F.

Barcelona v Deportivo - Women Liga Iberdrola Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The referees of the first division of women’s football in Spain have released an official communication through the RFEF website and announced that they are going on strike.

Full translated text:

The referees and assistant referees of the Women’s First Division wish to communicate our unanimous decision not to referee any match of the First Division National Championship in the current conditions of uncertainty of our employment and economic situation.

In the context of a new professional competition, we believe that women’s arbitration must have minimum conditions for the exercise of our activity within the professional competition. It is not conceivable that the refereeing establishment is the only one that remains on the sidelines of a growth that we consider to be just as necessary.

As referees, we want to provide the best possible service to football and this necessarily involves having minimum working conditions similar to those of the refereeing establishment in the professional men’s competition, which implies being able to have comparable working conditions that allow us to dedicate the necessary time that is essential to be in a professional competition. We are looking forward to stepping on the pitch again, but with the right conditions.

Despite all the optimism and excitement around the new ‘Liga F’ — the first fully-professionalized women’s football league in the Spanish game, which replaces the previous, RFEF-run “Primera Iberdrola” — and its groundbreaking TV deal with DAZN, it appears as if match officials have been left behind.

As fans, we often forget that referees deserve minimum working conditions and safeguards just like the players. Thus, we have often leveled criticism at poor officiating while ignoring the lack of training and support these individuals receive in the women’s game. As the league goes professional and players start to see the benefits of sponsorship and TV rights, it is only right that this progress extends to the professionalization of the refereeing establishment. This can only be beneficial for everyone involved.

It remains to be seen whether an agreement can be reached before the league starts on September 10th. At time of writing, that is only two days away.


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