"The right to strike is a fundamental right,” said FIFPRO President David Aganzo, who attended negotiations between the players, the league and the clubs on Friday. “We support our colleagues in Panama all the way. We back their pursuit of their employment rights, and we remain very hopeful that the conflict will be resolved."
For more than a year the professional footballers and AFUTPA have been trying to negotiate a collective deal with the clubs and the league in their country. FIFPRO has been by their side during the various efforts of the association, supporting them as much as possible. Both sides agreed to some commitments, however the LPF did not comply with them.
After AFUTPA and the players earlier this week - frustrated by the lack of any progress - announced a strike for this weekend, the league and clubs were finally willing to sit down and have constructive talks with the players. Both parties met yesterday (15th April), and were joined by representatives of the Panamanian football association, World League Forum President Enrique Bonilla and a FIFPRO delegation consisting of President Aganzo, FIFPRO North and Central America President Álvaro Ortiz, and Senior Legal Counsel Alexandra Gomez Bruinewoud.
Negotiations lasted until midnight, without reaching an agreement. The league’s offer for a deal which included having social security in place from December 2024, was today rejected by the players. They want to have social security from July 2023 at the latest.
The players remain open for further talks, however they will go on strike to illustrate the importance of their demands.
As AFUTPA president Juan Ramon Solis said earlier this week: “This week is like a World Cup for us. It's not like just any other week. It is the most important match of our sporting careers, even if we are not on the pitch. If we want to leave a legacy for our sons and daughters, and a future for the next generations, the way to win is by not playing.”
“The time has come to enforce our rights as the workers that we are. The time has come for our salary payments to come with state health coverage for us and our dependents. The time has come for us to finally have a satisfactory credit rating, and perhaps the most important of all, for our family to be entitled to a pension in case of an accident.”