Spain's female footballers secure historic pay deal

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By Lucia Riera Bosqued  & Luke Hurst
Players, delegates from AFE and politicians at the signing of the agreement
Players, delegates from AFE and politicians at the signing of the agreement   -  Copyright  AFE   -   Hurst, Luke

Spain’s female footballers have reached a historic first collective agreement over pay and conditions, after a long battle for rights which included an unprecedented strike last year.

The country’s Congress has welcomed the signing of the agreement, which will allow for the professionalisation of the women’s game in Spain.

The Secretary of State for Sport, Irene Lozano, said the agreement was a victory for all women: "I think that this is very important for all Spanish women because we know that when a group of women advances, in this case, sportswomen, we all advance".

The footballers will now have a legal framework that regulates their working hours, salaries, holidays, sick pay, and maternity leave.

The salary fixed in the agreement is €16,000 full time and €12,000 part-time.

Spanish sportswomen have been demanding change for some time, and last November players went on strike as negotiations broke down.

Just under 200 players from 16 different clubs in the country's Women's First Division voted for the strike action, which resulted in the cancellation of eight matches.

For the president of the Association for Women in Professional Sports in Spain, Mar Mas, it is "a minimum agreement" that is only a starting point.

"The conditions are a little bit crude,” she said. “But they have put some things on the table.”

"We really celebrate that everyone has been able to assume some of their responsibility and, above all, that women's football is entering the championship and playing as professionals and we hope that this agreement can be reviewed soon. And most importantly, that it will permeate to all other sports and all other clubs," she added.