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FIFPRO thrilled with new professional women’s league in Spain

15 June 2021
A big step for women footballers in Spain, as today the Spanish Higher Sports Council officially approved the creation of a professional women’s football league.

Starting next season (2021/2022), the Liga Ellas (as the league will be called) will start with 16 teams, who can jointly organise their competition and can generate their income by for example selling television rights.

These clubs will be legally bound to provide the women players with the same basic conditions as male professional footballers. For most female players that will lead to an improvement of their working conditions.

“This is a very important day for sports in general,” said David Aganzo, the president of Spanish player union AFE and Board Member of FIFPRO, about the creation of the “Liga Ellas”, which will be the first ever professional women sports league in Spain. “We have broken a barrier for equality.”

“Establishing this league would not have been possible without the collective bargaining agreement we agreed with last year and in which AFE played a very important role.”

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AFE started working on the creation of the new league more than a year ago by publishing a roadmap. After receiving this document, the Higher Sports Court (CSD), which oversees sports in Spain, announced that there had to be a new professional women’s league. AFE then held numerous meetings with all parties, including the parliament, to bring the Liga Ellasto reality.

“I am thrilled for AFE, the players, and all involved in taking this landmark step,” said Sarah Gregorius, FIFPRO’s Director Global Policy & Strategic Relations Women’s Football.

“Professional league status is still extremely rare in professional women’s football, making this achievement not only significant for the Spanish league, the clubs and the players, but also significant globally for the women’s football industry. This provides a vital foundation to enable all sorts of rights, conditions, and protections within the league for greater standards across the board.”

FIFPRO General Secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann added that “this measure further ensures stability for all players and clubs within Liga Ellas. We must always look at ways in which we can lift standards for the collective, in order for sustainable growth to take place. By providing this foundation, the groundwork is there for the players to develop and actualise the potential of themselves and the league."

"I expect that this will lead to huge improvements for women’s football in Spain, but will also provide a roadmap for other unions, players, and leagues around Europe and the world to follow.”