Spanish women's football league players to strike over wage dispute

Clash over salaries latest issue as sport grapples with sexism allegations

Barça Femení players celebrating their victory against Real Madrid on March 30, 2022
Barça Femení players celebrating their victory against Real Madrid on March 30, 2022 / Guifré Jordan
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

September 7, 2023 08:23 PM

September 7, 2023 08:42 PM

The debate over sexism in Spanish football continues in the wake of the fallout from the World Cup kiss scandal.

Female football players are going on strike for the first two weeks of the Liga F league, which was set to start this Friday, to call for improved wages, as was announced on Thursday.

Five trade unions, FUTPRO, AFE, Futbolistas ON, CCOO, and UGT, issued a statement explaining the decision to protest after talks with the Spanish Women's Football League faltered.

The minimum wage for female players is currently €16,000 per year, over 90% less than men's €180,000, and was last increased in 2019.

According to the unions' statement, players requested the minimum wage this season be raised to €23,000 – still less than referees' salaries – and up to €25,000 if earnings surpassed €8m.

"Points in a collective bargaining agreement should not be subject to the commercial achievements of a company because the rights of a worker are not a commercial asset," the unions' statement reads.

Liga F representatives, on the other hand, offered to raise the minimum wage to €20,000 and said in a statement that unions had asked for €25,000 this season "without showing any willingness to negotiate their salary demands."

The statement also claims the league proposed a number of benefits to improve the players' work-life balance and accused them of "not valuing" them. 

There are 10 Liga F players in the running for the 2023 Ballon d'Or award. Of these 10, six play for FC Barcelona Femení, including World Cup MVP and UEFA Women's Player of the Year Aitana Bonmatí.

Six players in La Liga have been nominated for the men's Ballon d'Or, of which two play for Barça.