Players from Spain’s women’s top flight, Liga F, will follow through with strike action after negotiations to improve pay remained at an impasse, unions representing the players said Thursday.
Five unions, including AFE and Futpro, called a strike covering the first two rounds of fixtures last week.
“We consider the final financial proposal from Liga F un acceptable and the five unions still maintain a firm proposition regarding the minimum wage that must be set so that female footballers in our country have salaries commensurate with their talent,” said the unions in a statement.
The unions said they had lowered their request to a minimum wage starting at 23 000 euros ($24 600) but Liga F refused to raise their offer beyond 20 000 ($21 400) euros a year.
The current minimum wage is 16 000 euros ($17 000) a year for Liga F players.
“After holding a meeting yesterday with the Liga F players, they consider the employers’ proposal unacceptable and are saddened that they have to maintain a strike even having lowered their initial proposal to 23 000 euros per year,” added the unions.
“It would mean, let’s not forget, earning less than the (match) referees.”
Negotiations over pay and conditions began a year ago, when Liga F was professionalised. The meetings held this week only concerned the minimum wages of the players.
The first round of fixtures was due to take place between September 8-10, with the second round on September 15-17.
Last season a refereeing strike disrupted the first week of Liga F matches.
Eventually, the league agreed to pay referees higher match fees, while the Spanish government said they would contribute to a refereeing retirement fund.
Spanish women’s football has been in the spotlight after La Roja won the World Cup in August, but the victory was tainted by an incident involving federation chief Luis Rubiales at the medal ceremony after the game.
Rubiales, 46, sparked worldwide outrage when he forcibly kissed Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips.
The federation chief provoked further upset with a defiant speech in which he refused to resign despite mounting pressure and instead railed against “false feminism”.
Rubiales insisted his kiss was consensual, but Hermoso said it was not and she felt like the “victim of an assault”.
World football governing body Fifa provisionally suspended Rubiales for 90 days while they study disciplinary action.
Hermoso filed a legal complaint against Rubiales at Spain’s top criminal court on Wednesday.
Currently, 81 Spain players are striking against the women’s national team, until the leadership of the federation changes – controversial coach Jorge Vilda was sacked Tuesday.