Argentine Football Association and Player´s Union reach agreement on pregnancy rights for players

Published 15 November 2019 By: Ariel Reck

Womens Football

The development and promotion of women’s football is one of the pillars of the current Argentine Football Association (AFA) administration. Women’s football has been 1launched in March this year, which required each of the 17 participant teams to register at least 8 professional contracts. The majority of teams have actually registered more than this - Boca Juniors, for example registered . For this year, the AFA gave to each club a subsidy covering the annual cost of these minimum 8 professional contracts. For those interested, copy of tournament regulations is available 4

With the professionalization of the women’s game, the players were included within the league’s existing collective bargaining agreement (CBA), pursuant to which the minimum salary is equivalent to the minimum salary for the men’s “C division” (the 4th tier of competition in Argentina). However, negotiations started between the AFA and the Argentine Player´s Union to adapt the CBA to the specialties of women’s football, in particular the issue of pregnancy.

On 16 October, an agreement5 was reached and adopted to included the following rights and obligation for pregnant players into the CBA. These rights operate in addition to the rights already in place pursuant to the pregnancy regulations of general domestic labor laws:

  1. Before playing each game, every female player (professional or amateur) shall declare she is not pregnant in the game sheet.

  2. Once a player presents the club a notice of pregnancy alongside with a medical certificate, she shall stop participating in official or friendly games and regular training sessions until she receives a medical clearance to play again.

  3. As an exception, pregnant players are allowed to participate in special training sessions if they present the club an authorization from their personal doctors, detailing the type of exercise they can perform and assuming the risks and the liability for miscarriage or any damage suffered.

  4. Failure to give notice of pregnancy constitutes a gross breach of contract by the player, exonerating the clubs and the federation from the liability for any damage they might experience.

  5. During the pregnancy leave the player shall continue to receive the amount of her salary until she has medical clearance to train and play again. The obligation to pay the player´s salary continues until the medical clearance is give, even if the employment contract expires before that date.

  6. If the transfer window is closed by the time of the player´s clearance, she shall have an exceptional 20-business days period to register a contract with a new club.

It is pleasing to see that the AFF and Player’s Union have achieved in a relatively short period of time (less than one year) not only the professionalization of women’s football, but the consideration and inclusion of basic rights for its players. The new pregnancy regime is the latest step but will surely not be the last in this ongoing journey. The league games are now shown on TV and the championship has a title sponsor. Attendance is still relatively modest – 2,000 on average per game and free entry; although the derby, River v Boca, attracted 7,000 fans. Compare this to the qualifying match of the national team against Panama before World Cup, which attracted more than 20,000, and we can certainly expect further developments and growth in this exciting new era for the women’s game.

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Ariel Reck

Ariel Reck

Ariel is a lawyer in Argentina focused exclusively on the sports sector, mainly the football industry. He has particular experience advising on third party player ownership issues, player´s transfers and international sports disputes before FIFA and CAS. He has also spoken at conferences on these issues in Argentina and at international level.

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