Players of Spain’s top-flight women’s league – Liga F – have announced they will go on strike for the first two match weeks due to collapsed negotiations over player pay. 

The players union FUTPRO revealed the decision after failures to reach an agreement with Liga F officials over minimum pay and working conditions was not met, amid the recent controversy surrounding the women’s game in Spain. 

Despite the Liga F season set to kick-off this weekend it has come under jeopardy after FUTPRO revealed that the failed negotiations left them facing the “impossibility of reaching an agreement with authorities”. 

The decision to strike was ultimately made yesterday (7 September) and was decided by FUTPRO, the Spanish Players’ Association (AFE) and three other unions who made calls to provide women’s players in the country “wages that the level of their talent” is met. 

A FUTPRO statement read: “We consider the final economic proposal of Liga F to be unacceptable and the five unions keep maintaining that a firm proposal in regards to minimum salary has to be applied so that the footballers of our country have wages at the level of their talent.

“The position of the league during the negotiations surprises and saddens us, which at all times has been immovable in regards to meeting the proposal made by the unions.”

Pay disputes for women’s players in Spain has been ongoing since October 2018 and initially, an agreement was made by the players unions and Liga F to set the minimum salary at €16,000 in February 2020. 

However, due to the surge in popularity of women’s football globally and more recently Spain’s recent World Cup triumph in Australia, players believe the minimum wage is not reflective of the players value due to recent successes. 

The negotiations collapsed after Liga F officials proposed an €18,000 increase which could rise to €25,000 over the next three seasons, which also included incentives such as child care assistance. 

This offer fell well short of the players’ asking price of €25,000 a season. The proposal by the players then dropped to €23,000 and if league profits exceed €8m this season, the figure would rise to €25,000. 

Despite this, the league stood firm on an increased offer of €20,000 which ultimately collapsed negotiations. 

The FUTPRO statement further revealed: “It’s important to remember that the current minimum salary since 2019 is 16,000 euros, an amount which by only applying the base rate rise of CPI would rise to 18,554 euros.

“It’s a key moment to defend the working rights of our footballers and to have the commitment that the institutions which comprise the women’s football industry bet on the development and well-being of its protagonists.”

The Liga F strike adds more controversy to the women’s game in Spain after its national coach Jorge Vilda was sacked by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) despite winning the World Cup due to long-standing tensions between himself and the players. 

Further turmoil was added when RFEF President Luis Rubiales was suspended by FIFA over kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent, but is still yet to be dismissed by RFEF despite public outcry.

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